[MUD-Dev] Re: (fwd) AD: [custom graphical] whitestar

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Tue May 5 17:49:32 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Thu, 30 Apr 1998 18:22:46 -0500 (CDT) 
Cat <cat at bga.com> wrote:

> There is some writing on these subjects out there, but I don't know
> if there's anything I'd highly recommend, and I'm not very motivated
> to go read everything I can find just to know what to suggest to
> people.  The best approach is just to plunge in and think hard and
> do the best you can.  That said, my senior apprentice does often
> recommend the following to people:

>      http://www.useit.com/papers/heuristic/heuristic_list.html

An absolutely wonderful site in general BTW.  His web design
recommendations are particularly refreshing (and very insightful, even
if Kanga.Nu violates them regularly).

>From the above URL:


Ten Usability Heuristics

Visibility of system status 
     The system should always keep users informed about what is going
     on, through appropriate feedback within reasonable time. 

Match between system and the real world 
     The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases
     and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented
     terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear
     in a natural and logical order.

User control and freedom 
     Users often choose system functions by mistake and will need a
     clearly marked "emergency exit" to leave the unwanted state
     without having to go through an extended dialogue. Support undo
     and redo.

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

Error prevention 

     Even better than good error messages is a careful design which
     prevents a problem from occurring in the first place.

Recognition rather than recall 
     Make objects, actions, and options visible. The user should not
     have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to
     another. Instructions for use of the system should be visible or
     easily retrievable whenever appropriate.

Flexibility and efficiency of use 
     Accelerators -- unseen by the novice user -- may often speed up
     the interaction for the expert user such that the system can
     cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users
     to tailor frequent actions.

Aesthetic and minimalist design 
     Dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or
     rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in a dialogue
     competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes
     their relative visibility.

Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors 
     Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes),
     precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a

Help and documentation 
     Even though it is better if the system can be used without
     documentation, it may be necessary to provide help and
     documentation. Any such information should be easy to search,
     focused on the user's task, list concrete steps to be carried
     out, and not be too large.

I originally developed the heuristics for heuristic evaluation in
collaboration with Rolf Molich in 1990 [Molich and Nielsen 1990;
Nielsen and Molich 1990]. I since refined the heuristics based on a
factor analysis of 249 usability problems [Nielsen 1994a] to derive a
set of heuristics with maximum explanatory power, resulting in this
revised set of heuristics [Nielsen 1994b].

See Also: Keith Instone's examples of using these heuristics for Web designs 


     Molich, R., and Nielsen, J. (1990). Improving a human-computer
     dialogue, Communications of the ACM 33, 3 (March), 338-348.

     Nielsen, J., and Molich, R. (1990). Heuristic evaluation of user
     interfaces, Proc.  ACM CHI'90 Conf. (Seattle, WA, 1-5 April),

     Nielsen, J. (1994a). Enhancing the explanatory power of
     usability heuristics. Proc.  ACM CHI'94 Conf. (Boston, MA, April
     24-28), 152-158.

     Nielsen, J. (1994b). Heuristic evaluation. In Nielsen, J., and
     Mack, R.L. (Eds.), Usability Inspection Methods, John Wiley &
     Sons, New York, NY.


J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                               Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------(*)                     Internet: claw at under.engr.sgi.com
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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