What is Heuristic evaluation?

Heuristic evaluation is a set of principles for evaluating usability. The ten general principles were defined by Jakob Nielson and Rolf Mlich in the 90s. They mentioned that these heuristic principles are more natural rules of thumb in the interaction design. 

Let’s see how the heuristic principles work in enterprise UI design. 

Ten Heuristic Principles 

1. Visibility of system status 

The system should always inform users about what is going on through appropriate feedback within a reasonable time.

Showing process bars or steps can help users understand the states in the system and let them know where they are in the process.

Visibility of system status 

2. Match between the system and the real world 

Design should use elements that are familiar to users. It should be related to common human experiences and concepts.

 For example, an arrow gives a sense of direction, and the + sign represents adding things. Users can easily understand what the UI elements mean in the interface with the expected concept.

Match between the system and the real world 

3. User control and freedom 

Users often perform actions by mistake. They need a marked emergency exit to leave the unwanted action. 

Here is an example of supporting redo or undo. If users accidentally press the exit button during the conversation with the customer support agent, it provides the ‘Stay on’ button to undo their unwanted action. 

User control and freedom 

4. Error prevention

Good error messages are important, but the best designs carefully prevent problems from occurring in the first place

For example, Hubspot provides this deleting process to warn the users and prevent them from the error of accidentally deleting the customer lists.

Error prevention

5. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover

Error messages should be expressed in plain language(no error codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution. 

For example, the Tacpoint Salesfin Smart lock system provides an error message to the user and offers the next step to resolve the error.

Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover

6. Consistency and Standards

Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform conventions.

External consistency is an excellent example of this principle. There are some flexibilities to tailor the website structure. But, most users expect to check out CTA or contact CTA on the right top of the website. Also, they expect to see the navigation menu at the top of the website.

(Top- Notion website Bottom- Shopify website)

7. Recognition rather than recall

Minimize the user’s memory load by making visible elements, actions, and options. Avoid making users remember information.

For example, in enterprise product admin pages, the admin users quickly check recent campaigns on the dashboard. They don’t have to remember or find the latest campaign they were working on. 

Recognition rather than recall

8. Flexibility and efficiency of use 

Shortcuts-hidden from novice users- may speed up the interaction for the expert user.

Bitoken UI design, one of Tacpoint's UXUI design projects, has a ‘Search’ bar on the top of the interface so that users can look for the information quickly without a lengthy search process.

Flexibility and efficiency of use

9. Aesthetic and minimalist design

Interfaces should not contain information that is irrelevant. Every extra unit of information in an interface competes with the relevant information units.

 ISAM enterprise UI, one of Tacpoint UXUI design projects, has well-organized information by subjects on its dashboard. Users can sort the information hierarchy with a dropdown menu, folding unnecessary fields.

Aesthetic and minimalist design

10. Help and Documentation 

It’s best if the design doesn’t need any additional explanation. However, it may be necessary to provide documentation to help users complete their tasks. 

Figma, for example, helps users understand each function with in-app guides. It helps to understand each function clearly and reduces wasted time learning each function.

Help and Documentation 

How do Heuristic principles help the UX team?

Heuristic principles can help the UX team improve the product's or website's usability. It provides valuable indicators to test the usability of the user interface. The UX team should conduct heuristic analysis during the product development's design phase. It doesn’t help to run one when it is too early. The heuristic analysis will provide valuable perspectives about user experience and some issues that the design team should fix for usability. By following these ten heuristics principles, designers can create user-friendly, accessible, and intuitive products to the world.

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Heuristic evaluation

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Heuristic evaluation - Understanding usability heuristic

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