The importance of usability in design cannot be overemphasized. The credibility of a design is in its usability; if the product does not meet the terms and demands of usability for a product, then the product cannot satisfy the consumer. Thus, before launching products, do well to test for usability.
Jakob Nielsen, one of the pioneers in usability testing, laid out some general rules to test usability in interface design.
Usability Heuristics for UI Design
Some of these rules are:
Visibility of system status
The system should always keep users up to date on what is going on by providing timely feedback promptly, the sound when a tweet is sent on Twitter, notification noises for mobile apps, or how you can monitor the progress of a Youtube video in your library.
User control and freedom
This rule gives the user complete control over navigating an application and what actions they take. It also includes the ability to reverse any unintentional actions. An example is the undo option after a message is deleted.
The app should be consistent throughout and adhere to the app's stated criteria. For example, the color combination of buttons and the icons (like icons for delete, message, login, etc.) should be consistent across an application to prevent the user from being confused while navigating through it.
Users should be notified of errors in password combinations and different addresses; errors should also be avoided. For example, forms with conflicting information should not be submitted until the error is fixed.
Match between the system and the real world
Instead of using system-oriented jargon, the system should speak the users' language, using words, ideas, and concepts that are known to them. Follow real-world norms to present information in a logical and natural sequence.
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Make images, icons, and actions visible and easily recognizable in your design, so the user will not have to think too hard before knowing the purpose of an image or icon where you have placed them.
Aesthetic and minimalist design
The interface should contain only useful information. The design should also be minimal; there is no need for complex designs as you might end up with a confusing interface. Choose simple colors that will project your text and images well too.
Help users recognize and recover from an error.
Error messages should be in plain language. Ambiguous words that may confuse the user should not be used. A simple statement such as “This field is empty” is enough to pass a clear message to the user.
The interface should be flexible for novice and advanced users. A novice should operate with no difficulty, and an advanced user should be able to operate without having to get as low as a beginner. Having a switch from novice to an advanced user is a good option.
Although there should be no need for documentation if the product has good usability, documentation is an excellent option for answering questions on areas that may seem difficult to understand in using the product.
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