Needing to Build a Website That Stands Out? Discover How Usability Heuristics and User Reports Are the Answer
We now live in the Experience Era, in which people assume quality assurance and make decisions based on their buying experience. Consumers expect and demand a positive and satisfying brand experience. If you do not provide them with a one-of-a-kind experience, they are more likely to purchase from another company. It will not matter how good what you are selling is.
Consumers are more informed than ever before. As a result, the market must reinvent itself. To successfully engage and retain customers in this age of ever-increasing expectations, businesses must apply digitization technologies to their business processes.
The product/service development process must reflect the agile, adaptable, and connected qualities that customers expect. And one way to do so is to combine user testing with usability heuristics.
Heuristics: learn its definition
One of the oldest and most well-known usability methodologies is also one of the simplest to implement, requiring only a UX analyst and some planning. Heuristic analysis is a type of “inspection” of usability. It entails user testing an interface to see if it adheres to predetermined principles known as heuristics.
Herbert Simon, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, proposed in the 1950s that, while people strive to make rational decisions, human judgment is limited by cognitive constraints. Purely rational choices would involve weighing factors like potential costs and benefits.
However, people are constrained by the amount of time they have to decide as well as the amount of information available to them. Other factors, such as general intelligence and perception accuracy, also influence decision-making.
Two decades later, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, both also psychologists, presented their research on cognitive biases. They hypothesized that these biases influence how people think and make decisions.
Using heuristics methodologies
Heuristics are useful in problem-solving and decision-making. When we need a quick solution to a problem or make a decision, we usually turn to these mental shortcuts. Several theories have been proposed by psychologists as to why we rely on heuristics.
Attribute substitution, for instance, occurs when people replace complex and difficult questions with simpler ones that establish some relationship. Whereas with effort reduction heuristics people reduce their mental effort, which is referred to as “mental laziness.” Finally, considering the use of heuristics and the probabilities of getting it right or wrong, it has been determined these methods are more accurate than incorrect. To put it another way, we use heuristics because they are quick and cheap.
Nielsen and his 10 heuristics
Nielsen heuristics are widely used throughout the world, particularly by design and development teams in digital interface projects. And because brands are concerned with creating a fluid user journey, in which it is possible to navigate without having to think, the definition you have just learned could not make more sense.
A heuristic, according to the dictionary, is a method that leads to the invention, discovery, or solution of problems. So, in this case, it represents a common-sense rule with the goal of improving and shortening the user’s journey and experience.
Today, we owe a lot to all these psychologists the fact that we can easily interact with systems and have a good user experience. And although there are various heuristic methodologies, in 1990 Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich proposed that usability heuristics be considered in all interface development. Now, Nielsen’s ten heuristics are among the most well-known to date.
Below are their descriptions, as well as their importance.
• Visibility of system status
The system should always provide users with instant feedback to inform them about what is happening on the webpage they are visiting.
• Match between system and the real world
The system should speak the language its users are familiar with: use words, phrases, images, concepts, as well icons that represent actions.
• User control and freedom
An “emergency exit” must be immediately available in case the user accidentally opens an undesirable page and wants to close it or return to a previous one.
• Consistency and standards
The interface must be consistent, allowing the user to identify the aesthetic, interaction, and information patterns that exist in it.
• Error prevention
This heuristic focuses on reducing error-prone circumstances. For instance, if a user has not finished a task and is leaving the page, the system can present a confirmation button to alert the user.
• Recognition rather than recall
The user should have to recall as little as possible, thus significant objects, actions, and options should be visible. This helps the brain recognize patterns.
• Flexibility and efficiency of use
Lay users need extensive information to execute tasks, but as they become more familiar with the interface, they need to be able to engage faster. Therefore, the interface must allow users to alter their actions based on their level of familiarity.
• Aesthetic and minimalist design
The more information there is, the more likely is it that users abandon your website because it is too confusing. This is why the design should be minimalist and the content as direct as possible. Leave secondary information in the background.
• Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
If something goes wrong, show the user what happened and how to fix it. Error notifications must be concise, objective, and close to the action that caused the error.
• Help and documentation
Although documentation and help areas are rarely used, they should be there to enable users to solve problems independently, especially in interfaces with multiple options.
How to not lose your brand’s enchanting identity
“But if all websites are following the same formula, how will mine be remembered?”, you may ask. The answer is simple, and the solution is even simpler. For starters, designing a logical flow based on heuristics is different from using a formula. Actually, it can be described as following user experience principles.
What truly differentiates your product/service is claiming what no other brand can deliver the way you do. The heuristics’ sole purpose is to highlight the justification of the promises made by your brand.
However, it is normal not to get it right the first time. After all, we can only get some answers after watching users interact with our design. It is from the need to ensure that our website has been developed in the best feasible way that the user testing experience is born.
This means that, by testing your website, you will have reports from which to extract data that will show you exactly how your users will understand your promises.
Don’t have a user testing team? TestMate is here to become yours!
TestMate offers three types of services to ensure that you find one that meets your needs. With our Full Service User Testing, for example, you will not only have access to qualified testers, but you will also receive very easy-to-read reports and video analysis that will direct you towards strategies that will actually work, as they are based on the characteristics of those who want to buy from you.
For more information about our services and how they can assist you and your team, visit our service page, or book a free call.