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Heuristics

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This page belongs to the Human-Computer-Interaction - Team (category HCI)

In usability work, heuristics is a set of "rules of thumb" that can be used in the design process and in the process of evaluating interfaces. The following set of heuristics (called Bødker and Nielsens 10 Usability Heuristics for TYPO3) are developed from more general heuristics to match some of the often occuring problems and questions that are encountered by designers of the TYPO3 backend.


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.


Consistency and standards

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


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.


Relevant to user's needs

Make the system match the needs of different kinds of users in different kinds of situations

Fitts's Law

The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target.

Learnability

Ideally, products would have no learning curve: users would walk up to them for the very first time and achieve instant mastery. In practice, all applications and services, no matter how simple, will display a learning curve. Limit the Trade-Offs

Use of Metaphors

Choose metaphors well, metaphors that will enable users to instantly grasp the finest details of the conceptual model.

Law of Proximity

The Gestalt law of proximity states that "objects or shapes that are close to one another appear to form groups" (Moore, Fitz 1993). Even if the shapes, sizes, and objects are radically different, they will appear as a group if they are close together.


Law of Similarity

Gestalt theory states that objects that appear to be similar will be grouped together in the learner’s mind (Moore, Fitz 1993). For visual instruction, this can include font styles, size, and color, for example.


Design dialog to yield closure

Sequences of actions should be organized into groups with a beginning, middle, and end. The informative feedback at the completion of a group of actions gives the operators the satisfaction of accomplishment, a sense of relief, the signal to drop contingency plans and options from their minds, and an indication that the way is clear to prepare for the next group of actions.

Using heuristics