Content marketing has become increasingly more relevant in our world. One of the distribution channels marketers use to promote content is through media. Relevant content is essential to attract and retain users, but the usability of the platform is equally important. A website with great content but terrible usability is quintessential to a house with its furniture placed upside down. In order to produce any type of user interface design like websites, it is important to keep these following rules of thumb in mind.
10 Usability Heuristics from Jakob Nielsen
- Visibility of system status
The system should keep the users informed about what is happening and provide them ample amount of feedback so that they knew what to expect.
- Match between system and the real world
The system should somewhat mimic the real world. For example, the language, the phrases, and the concepts should be familiar to the reader. Information provided to the users should appear in a logical and natural order.
- User control and freedom
Make users feel like they have the freedom to do anything on your content; more specifically, the ability to exist or prevent automated actions. Give the users the ability to undo and redo their actions. Don’t make them feel like they trap to doing certain actions only.
- Consistency and standards
Users should not have to guess whether what they have to do in order for certain action to occur. The system should be designed with consistency and standards so it is simple and easy for the users to operate.
- Error prevention
Design content that prevents users from making mistakes. For example, help users check over their selections or actions and present them a confirmation page before actually submitting their actions.
- Recognition rather than recall
Put yourself in the user’s perspective. Reduce the amount of memory load by making the options, and actions visible. The users should not have to remember certain actions they have done in the past. The information should be made readily available to the users so they can retrieve it or recall by the options or images that are provided.
- Flexibility and efficiency of use
The system should tailor towards a wide range of users; thus flexibility is important to cater experience users and inexperienced users.
- Aesthetic and minimalist design
The information provided to the users should be clear and simple. Extra information and excess color/structure will distract their attention and reduce their visibility of the content.
- Help user recognize and recover from errors
Errors should be expressed in plain language rather than codes. It should not only indicate the problem but also provide the solution. The best error message should help the user understand the error and resolve it.
- Help and documentation
The best-designed system should be used without documentation. However, sometimes it is necessary to provide help and documentation if the information of the system is not that easy to understand.
The image above represents a simple illustration of positive experience and negative experience. As a marketer we never want our users to have negative user experience because that one experience can easily push our users towards our competitors. This is why it is important to create a system that has great usability and relevant content at the same time. In the SlideShare below, there are several examples that will help you better understand the ten usability heuristics. Hope you enjoy this week’s article.