Didn’t Jakob Nielsen already make this?

The short answer is yes. In fact, these heuristics are based on his original essay from 1995, 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design. I had some difficulty applying the heuristics in his article in client-facing UX reviews (at Ethology, we call them Heuristic Reviews). The issue was that Nielsen’s heuristics sound very academic, and are difficult for people new to practicing user experience to understand. They are also very universal in scope — they apply equally well to soda machines, airplane cockpits, and mobile apps.

What I needed was something simpler and easier to clearly apply to the user interfaces of mobile apps and web sites. I developed the following heuristics to meet that need.

My 10 heuristics

  1. Accessibility
  2. Aesthetics
  3. Awareness
  4. Wayfinding
  5. Reactivity
  6. Legibility
  7. Affordance
  8. Simplicity
  9. Clarity
  10. Error handling

What next?

I will be creating a series of blog posts addressing each of these heuristics, what they mean, and how to apply them in your designs. Basically, I’m going to expand on this article I published last month: Is your digital experience frictionless?

Some notes

It bears mentioning that these were conceived and developed during my time at 29th Drive, which was acquired by Tallwave and Ethology to become the design departments of both organizations. These heuristics are still in use by both companies at the time of publishing.