10 Heuristic Principles of UX Design

Aman Chaurasia

Most of the people are accustomed to consider design a simple creative activity, however, there are considerably much more things behind crafting a perfect user-friendly visual design. The feeling of excellence and motivation are insufficient to make the capable outline. That’s the reason why designers ought to have certain learning and abilities of design sciences to carry out their activity right.

Here’s more, designing is not just the craft of arrangement, it’s the knowledge about different fields of learning and practice which enable them to work effectively and productively.

Is simplicity critical in crafting a good user experience?

Yes, today organizations are striving towards building customer engagement through an intuitive and engaging User Interface.

The 10 heuristics for UI design by Jacob Nielsen are the must use principles for a designer who wants to make an effective, interactive and attractive composition that neatly conveys a message to their audience.

This article will take you through 10 Principles that will make visual designs stand out.

1. Visibility of system status

The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within reasonable time.

The system needs to provide a feedback of his/her action within a reasonable time. This feedback is normally associated with points of action and can be provided using a color change, loader, time-left graphics, etc.

UX Design 1

  1. 1. Phone showing the status of battery while the phone is charging.
  2. 2. System showing the file copying status. This Indicates the size of the file already copied and hence creates more patience in users.

2. Match between system and the real world

The system should speak the users’ language, with words, phrases, and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.

Is there anything on your application that a consumer may not get it? this is exceptionally normal and barely noticeable since we get related to the item for over some undefined time frame. It’s likewise vital for the application to talk the language of the actual customer base.

UX Design_2

  1. 1. Facebook now provides animated and more expressive ‘emoji’ reactions to posts. This is more relatable and metaphoric to real life emotions.
  2. 2. Digital news platforms are showing news in a newspaper layout for giving a real tangible newspaper feel to their users.

3. User control and freedom

Users often choose system functions by mistake and will need a clearly marked “emergency exit” to leave the unwanted state without having to go through an extended dialogue. Support undo and redo.

This principle discusses giving the client, flexibility to explore and perform activities. The opportunity to fix any accidental activities.

 UX design_principles       

  1. 1. History Brush tool in Photoshop helps users in recovering image contents.
  2. 2. Google account helps users to rewrite their passwords in case they’ve entered it incorrectly. They can even edit their mail id on the same screen without giving an undo or redo command.

4. Consistency and standards

Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform conventions.

Consistency is the key. A submit button in one page should look the same across the site on any page. If we show the data in a particular table format on one page, it should look the same the next time data is being shown in tabular format. If the header is displayed in a certain way on the public pages, it should be the same when a user logs in.

UX design principles

  1. 1. This image shows inconsistency in design. All the icons have a different style.
  2. 2. This image shows consistency in design. All the icons have the same style so here, iconography is correct.

5. Error prevention

Even better than good error messages is a careful design which prevents a problem from occurring in the first place.

 UX design icons

  1. 1. Photoshop asking users what to do with the unsaved changes before closing the file. This is an amazing problem prevention measure.
  2. 2. Gmail shows this pop up if users have mentioned in the mail about an attached file but have actually forgotten to attach it.

6. Recognition rather than recall

Make objects, actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another. Instructions for use of the system should be visible or easily retrievable whenever appropriate.

It’s always better to suggest the user a set of options than to let user remember and type the whole thing. The goal should always to minimize the application of user memory.

UX design Principles

  1. 1. It is always better to show an icon with text instead of text alone. An added icon helps users in recognizing the task.
  2. 2. App showing users where their package is in the delivery process. This helps users in keeping a track of their package with just a screen view.

7. Flexibility and efficiency of use

Accelerators — unseen by the novice user — may often speed up the interaction for the expert user such that the system can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users to tailor frequent actions.

The Interface ought to be adaptable changing itself between a tenderfoot user and an advanced client. One frequents this choice while using any software that inquires as to whether the client needs to proceed with default configurations or custom arrangements. An advanced client picks a customs configurations to remove the pointless options.   

Heuristic UX design

  1. 1. Google search provides users with the facility of multiple search options that helps users in making their search more relevant.
  2. 2. Photoshop allows users to save a single file in multiple file formats for user convenience.

8. Aesthetic and minimalist design

Dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility.

Prioritization comes to play when this perspective is being considered. For the Designer or the engineer, all the data that is being displayed on the page is relevant. The project manager needs to inquire as to whether it is so. Is every data presented on screen important and valuable?

Google has been resisting the temptation to show more information on their search page for years. This is could be shown as the example of the best possible minimalist design.

Design Principles

  1. 1. Google’s sing on the page is designed to maximize its use will all the attention on the Action button and minimize any unnecessary clutter.
  2. 2. Sketch allows its users to customize their toolbar according to their specific needs.

9. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors

Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution.

In most of the cases, errors are negligible in the customer journey. A check should be made if those flaws are being disclosed to the user in a justifiable way.

If a user has achieved this progression, something’s wrong with the interface.

An extraordinary UI gives the user a chance to explore its highlights with no documentation or preparing. If there is any customer who couldn’t make it out, satisfactory help ought to be given with the product.

Design Principles

  1. 1. Users always come across this pop up everytime they are about to delete some files permanently to avoid any permanent damage.
  2. 2. This website shows 404 error, but also suggests users try another search.

10.Help and documentation

Even though it is better if the system can be used without documentation, it may be necessary to provide help and documentation. Any such information should be easy to search, focused on the user’s task, list concrete steps to be carried out, and not be too large.

10 heuristic design principles

  1. 1. Coach marks guides users on how to use some specific features.
  2. 2. Google Sign in form proves help text that helps users in understanding what info they need to fill in that specific text field.   


User interface designing is a complex and multi-faceted process with design specialists and experts covering a wide range of areas. The apparently simple interface speaks how these features are interrelating, and giving awesome UX and offering a clarification to the uninitiated.

about the author

Aman Chaurasia

Aman is a Digital Marketing Executive at TechJini. He frequently writes blogs on IoT, Automation and Digital Transformation.