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Heuristic checklist


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This is the Excel spreadsheet that I use for expert reviews. Create a set of tasks performed by a typical user and then respond to the questions and note the severity of the problems. Some of this is adapted from Jakob Nielsen's original Heuristic list.

Published in: Technology, Design

Heuristic checklist

  1. 1. Page tested (filenameor URL)Date testedStart timeEnd timeTester nameTesters Job/RoleTester phone no.Tester emailConnection used(network, dial-up,ISDN)Browser used (IE,Netscape, Opera)Platform/OS UsedGeneral commentsabout the site (aftertesting)How would you ratethe usability of thischecklist?Do you have anysuggestions foradditions to thischecklist?
  2. 2. Severity CriteriaNo. Yes No N/A (0-4) Visual Presentation and 1 Design Does the page layout contain enough open space to not be1.1 cluttered? Is the page moderate in its use of1.2 color? Is page length appropriate in its1.3 content? Does the page provide feedback whenever possible (e.g., "reply"1.4 screen for forms-based pages)? Is the page length two screens or1.5 less? Can each page "stand alone"?1.6 Is the formatting scheme logical1.7 and standard? Are row and column headers1.8 visible for data tables? Is the site aesthetically pleasing1.9 enough to keep users interested? Is the text (size, color, font) on the background (color, texture,1.10 etc.) easy to read? Are the text columns no wider1.11 than 3.5 inches on your screen? Do graphic elements (photos,1.12 images, etc.) match context? 2 Clarity of Communication 2
  3. 3. Can you determine quickly the purpose and features of the2.1 page? Can you easily find contact2.2 information? Can you easily send an email to2.3 the contact person? Are links and icons labeled in a2.4 way that makes sense? Are clear instructions given for2.5 performing processes? Are FAQs organized by2.6 category? Are information and error messages useful, accurate and2.7 correctly spelled? Does the page convey a clear2.8 sense of its intended audience? Is the language used in a way thats familiar and comfortable to2.9 you? Are the page title and headings2.10 short and meaningful? Is the language kept clear and2.11 simple? Are header elements used to2.12 convey page structure? Is the target of each link clearly2.13 identified? Are acronyms and abbreviations2.14 defined? Are the contents ordered in a logical way (e.g., alpha,2.15 temporally, spatially, categorically, or by magnitude)? Are you provided with a preview of what will happen or where youll go before you click on a2.16 hyperlink? 3
  4. 4. Is information "chunked" into short, readable paragraphs or2.17 bullets? page use an "inverted Does the pyramid" information structure, with summary information2.18 presented first, followed by more detail? page title accurately Does the describe the contents of the2.19 page? Navigation 3 Is there a lack of excessive "page bouncing" where you must visit several pages to get the3.1 information you need? Is there a link to a site map, site index or list or commonly3.2 accessed sections? Is hyperlinking used frequently, to prevent large pages from `3.3 being` downloaded? Is there a clear and obvious link3.4 to the home page? Is the navigation flow consistent3.5 and logical? Does the page use (approximately) standard link3.6 colors? Are the links obvious in (i.e., clearly labeled for) their intent3.7 and destination? Is there a convenient, obvious way to maneuver among related pages, and between different3.8 sections? Are meaningless links avoided?3.9 Are links provided to other3.10 relevant pages? 4
  5. 5. Are links provided to more in-3.11 depth coverage of information? Are navigational aids provided on both the top and bottom of each page (if page is longer than one3.12 screen in length)? Is this page easy to find from3.13 other pages? Can you search the entire site3.14 from this page? Does the site avoid "orphaned"3.15 pages? Does the page avoid the need to3.16 scroll horizontally? Is there a "you are here" visual3.17 cue? Does all underlined text link to3.18 something else?3.19 Consistency 4 Is the page visually consistent in its "look and feel" with other4.1 pages? Is the page visually consistent4.2 even without graphics? Are navigation elements used4.3 consistently? Accessibility 5 Are graphics optimized to5.1 download quickly? 5
  6. 6. Can a user navigate using text5.2 only? Are response times fast enough5.3 to keep you in a flow state? Does the page allow mistakes to5.4 be easily undone? Is load time appropriate to5.5 content, even on a dial-up? Is there a text equivalent for every non-text element? (e.g., image map regions, animation5.6 scripts, audio and video) Is the text readable by people with color blindness?5.7 Are ALT attributes used to describe images?5.8 General/Other6 Is there a "printer friendly"6.1 version for this page? Are all links active (live)?6.2 Do all CGI scripts work?6.3 Does every form have a6.4 function? Do you immediately see the6.5 results of your actions? 6
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  8. 8. Comments/Suggestions for Improvement 8
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  14. 14. Heuristic Principle Severity Met Violated N/A (0-4) Comments/Suggestion to Remedy Problem1. Organize data into meaningful framework.Organize the user interface purposefully, inmeaningful and useful ways that put related thingstogether and separate unrelated things based onclear, consistent (conceptual) models or sitemetaphors that are apparent and recognizable toothers. 1.1 Keep all needed options and materials for a given task visible without distracting the user with extraneous or redundant information. 1.2 Instead of cramming everything about a product or topic into a single page, use hypertext to structure the content space into a starting, overview page and several secondary pages that each focus on a specific topic. Help users avoid wasting time on subtopics that don’t concern them. 1.3 Recognize that users rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. Use lists, headings, and other HTML formatting tools to help users find the information that suits their needs.2. Visibility of system status: Keep users informedabout what is going on, through appropriatefeedback within reasonable time. 2.1 Structure helps users navigate. Without structural links, pages are orphaned in cyberspace. Provide users with a path to higher levels of navigation and content. (example: breadcrumbing)
  15. 15. 2.2 Accommodate and support user-controlled navigation. Do not force users through set paths. Make alternate paths easy to follow, consistent, and logical. 2.3 Provide feedback by keeping users informed of actions or interpretations, changes of state or condition, and errors or exceptions using clear, concise, and unambiguous language familiar to users.3. Match between system and the real world: Speakthe users’ language, with words, phrases andconcepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions,making information appear in a natural and logicalorder. 3.1 Avoid using technical, scientific or legal language. On main pages of the site, create content that can be understood by a general audience. 3.2 Provide a simple process for completing simple tasks. 3.3 When creating your site’s navigation, do not simply copy your organization’s structure. Create a navigation design and options that reflect user tasks on your site.4. User control and freedom: Be flexible and tolerant,reducing the cost of mistakes and misuse byallowing undoing and redoing while preventingerrors wherever possible by tolerating varied inputs.Provide users with a clearly marked "emergencyexit" to easily recover from mistakes.
  16. 16. 4.1 Don’t disable the Back button on a browser by opening a new window or using an immediate redirect. The Back button is the second-most used navigation feature (after following hypertext links). Users know that they can try anything on the Web and then click on the Back to return to familiar territory. 4.2 Help users recognize, diagnose and recover from errors by providing error messages that are written in plain language (not code), clearly indicate the problem, and constructively suggest or provide a solution.5. Consistency and standards: Reduce the need forusers to rethink and remember by reusing internaland external components and behaviors, maintainingconsistency with purpose rather than merelyarbitrary consistency. Follow platform conventions. 5.1 Do the same as everybody else. If most big Web sites do something in a certain way, then follow along. Users will expect things to work the same way on your site. 5.2 Avoid using HTML that does not comply with standards or causing the user’s browser to engage in a nonstandard behavior.6. Error prevention: Even better than a good errormessage is a careful design which prevents aproblem from occurring in the first place. 6.1 Use link titles to provide users with a preview of where each link will take them, before they have clicked on it. Help them avoid waiting for unnecessary page downloads.
  17. 17. 6.2 Avoid link-rot by keeping pages up indefinitely once they have been put on the Web or provide redirect messages and auto-redirect capabilities. Other sites may link to your page. Users may have bookmarked the page because they want to go directly to a relevant part of your site. Search engines are slow in updating their databases, so they too will lead users astray if you remove pages. 6.3 Avoid using a new technology if you suspect that a large percentage of your users have not adopted the new technology.7. Recognition rather than recall: Make objects,actions, and options visible. The user should nothave to remember information from one part of thedialogue to another. Instructions for use of thesystem should be visible or easily retrievablewhenever appropriate. 7.1 Provide search if the site has more than 100 pages. 7.2 Write straightforward and simple headlines and page titles that clearly explain what the page is about and that will make sense when read out-of- context in a search engine results listing. 7.3 Structure the page to facilitate scanning; for example, use grouping and subheadings to break content into smaller "chunks." 7.4 Page titles, headlines, and subject lines needs to clear and succinct. You only get 40-60 characters to explain your content. Unless the title or subject makes it absolutely clear what the page or email is about, users will never open it.
  18. 18. 8. Flexibility and efficiency of use: Accelerators --unseen by the novice user -- may often speed up theinteraction for the expert user such that the systemcan cater to both inexperienced and experiencedusers. Allow users to tailor frequent actions. 8.1 Create the default interface as simple as the task will allow, offering more powerful features available to intermediate or expert users through customizable interfaces, keyboard shortcuts or other subtle mechanism. (an example: provide a basic search on every page with a link to an advanced search option for those who want to use it).9. Aesthetic and minimalist design: Include in thedisplays only the information needed by the user atthat given time/place. Every extra unit of informationin a display competes with the relevant units ofinformation and diminishes their relative visibility. 9.1 When designing for the Web, download speed must be the overriding criterion. To keep page sizes small, graphics should be kept to a minimum, and multimedia effects should be used only when they can add to a user’s understanding of the information. Keep it simple. 9.2 Split long pages of text into multiple pages, connected with hyperlinks. Each "chunk" of content should cover a specific topic. No more, no less. 9.3 Avoid creating huge scrolling pages of text; as they move down the page, users will no longer be able to see navigation options. or….
  19. 19. 9.4 Practice judicious redundancy. For example, on a long page with a lot of content, repeat the navigation that disappears as the user scrolls down.10. Help and documentation: Any Help ordocumentation should be easy to search, focused onthe user’s task, list concrete steps to be carried out,and not be too large. 10.1 When writing documentation, provide multiple examples to help the user contextualize their problem. 10.2 When designing help, begin with “how do I…” for topics that show the user how to accomplish a task.
  20. 20. Please read each statement carefully and check a number from 1 to 7, where "1" means you strongly disagree with the statement and "7" means you strongly agree with the statement. Strongly Strongly Statement 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A Disagree AgreeThe site satisfied the needs ofvarious audiences.The site was easy to use.The site was useful.The site provided materialappropriate for the audiences.The site did everything I expectedit to do.The fewest steps possible wererequired to accomplish each task.I was able to use the sitesuccessfully.With a little practice, I couldbecome skillful with the site.The site used words and phrasesthat were familiar to me.Content was presented in anintuitive and logical manner.
  21. 21. I didnt wonder whether words orbuttons on the same page meant thesame thing.I didnt have to rememberinformation on one page in order tosuccessfully accomplish somethingon another page.Content provided by the site wasrelevant to my needs.I would recommend a site like thisone to a friend or family member.
  22. 22. Heuristic Ratings0 I dont agree that this is a usability problem.1 Nominal problem only -- fix if time permits or if changing other things at that location2 Minor usability problem -- fixing this should be given low priority.3 Major usability problem -- important to fix, so should be given high priority.4 Usability catastrophe -- imperative to fix this before product can be released.