Whatterz


Lund's Expert Ratings of Usability Maxims

by Simon. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

Published in the Ergonomics in Design journal in 1997 [1], Arnold Lund collected and created this list of 34 rules-of-thumb (given below in order of priority) that were found particularly useful during the design process by colleagues working in the human-computer interaction (HCI) design field.

The list is still as relevant today as it was back in 1997.

  1. Know thy user, and YOU are not thy user.
  2. Things that look the same should act the same.
  3. Everyone makes mistakes, so every mistake should be fixable.
  4. The information for the decision needs to be there when the decision is needed.
  5. Error messages should actually mean something to the user, and tell the user how to fix the problem.
  6. Every action should have a reaction.
  7. Don’t overload the user’s buffers.
  8. Consistency, consistency, consistency.
  9. Minimize the need for a mighty memory.
  10. Keep it simple.
  11. The more you do something, the easier it should be to do.
  12. The user should always know what is happening.
  13. The user should control the system. The system shouldn’t control the user. The user is the boss, and the system should show it.
  14. The idea is to empower the user, not speed up the system.
  15. Eliminate unnecessary decisions, and illuminate the rest.
  16. If I made an error, let me know about it before I get into REAL trouble.
  17. The best journey is the one with the fewest steps. Shorten the distance between the user and their goal.
  18. The user should be able to do what the user wants to do.
  19. Things that look different should act different.
  20. You should always know how to find out what to do next.
  21. Don’t let people accidentally shoot themselves.
  22. Even experts are novices at some point. Provide help.
  23. Design for regular people and the real world.
  24. Keep it neat. Keep it organized.
  25. Provide a way to bail out and start over.
  26. The fault is not in thyself, but in thy system.
  27. If it is not needed, it’s not needed.
  28. Color is information.
  29. Everything in its place, and a place for everything.
  30. The user should be in a good mood when done.
  31. If I made an error, at least let me finish my thought before I have to fix it.
  32. Cute is not a good adjective for systems.
  33. Let people shape the system to themselves, and paint it with their own personality.
  34. To know the system is to love it.

References

  1. Lund, A. M. (1997). Expert ratings of usability maxims. Ergonomics in Design, 5(3), 15-20. A study of the heuristics design experts consider important for good design.

This article has been tagged

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Other articles I recommend

Jakob Nielsen's Ten Usability Heuristics

These are ten general principles for user interface design suggested by Jakob Nielsen. They are called “heuristics” because they are more in the nature of rules of thumb than specific usability guidelines.

Shneirderman’s 8 Golden Rules of Interface Design

To improve the usability of an application it is important to have a well designed interface. Shneiderman’s “Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design” are a guide to good interaction design.

Design Principles: The Philosophy of UX

The visual principles of harmony, unity, contrast, emphasis, variety, balance, proportion, pattern and direction (and others) are widely recognised and practiced, even when they aren’t formally articulated. But creating a good design doesn’t automatically mean creating a good experience. In order for us to cultivate positive experiences for our users, we need to establish a set of guiding principles for experience design.