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Guideline Checklists 

What is it?

Guidelines and checklists help ensure that usability principles will be considered in a design. Usually, checklists are used in conjunction with a usability inspection method--the checklist gives the inspectors a basis by which to compare the product.

How do I do it?

You begin by deciding upon the particular usability guideline set you'll use to judge the attributes and interaction methods of the product's interface. Many guidelines have been published and can be used as published, although you may want to tailor the guidelines to suit the exact issues faced by your product's user. Guideline lists are usually long and take a lot of time to go through--since you'll be checking the product's interface against the list for each attribute or part of the interface, a long list isn't as desirable.

Nielsen, in the book Usability Inspection Methods, lists a small set of usability guidelines as follows:

  • Visibility of system status
  • Match between system and the real world
  • User control and freedom
  • Consistency and standards
  • Error prevention
  • Recognition rather than recall
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use
  • Aesthetic and minimalist design
  • Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
  • Help and documentation
  • When should I use these?

    Use guideline checklists when performing usability inspections, such as heuristic evaluations or consistency inspections.

    Who can tell me more?

    Click on any of the following links for more information:

    Wixon, Dennis, et. al., "Inspections and Design Reviews: Framework, History, and Reflection," in Nielsen, Jakob, and Mack, R. eds, Usability Inspection Methods, 1994, John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.  ISBN 0-471-01877-5 (hardcover)

    Nielsen, Jakob, Usability Inspection Tutorial, 1995, CHI '95 Proceedings

    All content copyright © 1996 - 2019 James Hom