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Top tips for usability (heuristics or rules of thumb)
The considered views of the experts
Amongst his various careers Keith spent several years at the HUSAT Research Institute in Loughborough doing research into usability.
During this time a survey of usability practitioners was carried out by Arnold M. Lund (WayBackMachine link) of Ameritech.
Experts in Human factors, design, HCI, Ergonomics and Usability were asked to rate a whole collection of so called 'Rules of Thumb'.
Why you are not a user
The details below are from an archived email message which contained a full discussion of the methods and results.
We have been unable to find a full version of any research paper on the web, please do let us know if you find it. If you would like the full details of the notes we have, please feel free to mail Keith.
From the original notes:
"Colleagues working in the human-computer interface (HCI) design field were asked to suggest rules of thumb that they have found particularly useful during the design process.
These rules were collected, some editing took place to combine duplicates and refine wording, and the list was sent back to see whether any rules were missing from the list.
The list was also submitted to members of the ANSI-200/HFES HCI standards committee who were also asked to identify rules that might be missing. Once the new suggestions were incorporated into the list, a list of 34 rules of thumb had been defined."
Numbers represent overall views of the usefullness of the 'Rule' (5=highest)
More Info on Heuristics
Most people in the usability trade build up their own collection of such phrases. They are also a good way to help non-specialists remember aspects of usability for their work.
Learn from your own web browsing. Note what you like and what causes problems. There is also another collection of usability links I've found helpful in the Usability section.
The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
Keith is always happy to discuss matters raised in his articles. You can Email Us
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