Suggested heuristics for Interactive TV, and applications.

Visibility of system status

Is status feedback provided continuously (eg progress indicators or messages)?

Match between system and real world

Are the words, phrases and concepts used familiar to the user?
Does the activity sequence parallel the user's mental processes?
Is information presented in a simple, natural and logical order?
Is the use of metaphors easily understandable by the user?
Are important controls represented on the screen and is there an obvious mapping between them and the real controls?

User control and freedom

Are facilities provided to "undo" (or "cancel") and "redo" actions?
Are there clearly marked exits (for when the user finds themselves somewhere unexpected)?
Are facilities provided to return to the top level at any stage?

Consistency and standards

Is the use of terminology, controls, graphics and menus consistent throughout the system?
Is there a consistent look and feel to the system interface?
Is interactive TV consistent with the related TV programmes (and are the colours consistent between them)?

Error prevention

Is a selection method provided (eg from a list) as an alternative to direct entry of information?
Is user confirmation required before carrying out a potentially 'dangerous' action (eg deleting something)?

Recognition rather than recall

Are help and instructions visible or easily accessible when needed?
Is the relationship between controls and their actions obvious?
Are input formats (eg dates or lengths of names) and units of values indicated?

Flexibility and efficiency of use

Does the system allow for a range of user expertise?
Does the system guide novice users sufficiently?

Aesthetic and minimalist design

Is the design simple, intuitive, easy to learn and pleasing?
Is the system free from irrelevant, unnecessary and distracting information?
Are icons clear and buttons labelled and is the use of graphic controls obvious?
Has the need to scroll been minimized and where necessary, are navigation facilities repeated at the bottom of the screen?

Help users recover from errors

Do error messages describe problems sufficiently, assist in their diagnosis and suggest ways of recovery in a constructive way?
Are error messages written in a non-derisory tone and refrain from attributing blame to the user?

Help and documentation

Is help clear and direct and simply expressed in plain English, free from jargon and buzzwords?
Is it easy for the user to search, understand and apply help text?


Is navigational feedback provided (eg showing a user's current and initial states, where they've been and what options they have for where to go)?
Are any navigational aids provided (eg find facilities)?

Structure of information

Is there a hierarchical organisation of information from general to specific?
Are related pieces of information clustered together?
Is the length of a piece of text appropriate to the display size and interaction device?
Has the number of screens required per task been minimized?
Are the URLs, page titles and headlines straightforward, short and descriptive?
Has textual content been kept to a maximum of two columns?

Physical constraints

Is the screen visible at a range of distances and in various types of lighting?
Is the distance between targets (eg icons) and the size of targets appropriate (size should be proportional to distance)?
Has the use of text in images and large or irregular imagemaps been avoided?

Extraordinary users

Is the use of colour restricted appropriately (and suitable for colour-blind users)?

You might like to print out this list for future reference and then return to the heuristics home page and choose another device.