5 Core usability principles

September 15, 2009

Usability principles – it’s probably been said a thousand times, with far too many words. This is my take on it:

  1. Accessibility
    Interfaces that do not comply with average accessibility standards will most likely cause usability issues for everybody.
  2. Visibility
    In digital systems, everything is hidden by default. If something is not visible or made explicit, I cannot use it.
  3. Consistency
    Almost every visit of a site involves some learning (which is good). Within one site or application, however, I do not want to unlearn or re-learn the visual language, the labels, or the underlying structure.
  4. Hierarchy
    Visual hierarchy and semantic hierarchy allows me to quickly establish a logical system and to carry out tasks quicker.
  5. Recoverability
    It’s great to be able to do smart things. It’s essential, however, that I am made aware of any changes made (feedback) and that I easily can reset a default/previous state (recover).
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