Full set of heuristics

The heuristics are ordered into categories.

You can either use the category headings below to jump to heuristics of interest or work through the full set.
Tick the box beside each of the heuristics you think would be useful in evaluating Websites.

Visibility of system status Match between system and 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 recover from errors Help and documentation
Navigational feedback Use of modes
Structure of information Enjoyment
Physical constraints Extraordinary users
Visibility of system status
Is status feedback provided continuously (eg progress indicators or messages)?
Are warning messages displayed for long enough?
Is there provision for some form of feedback?
Match between system and real world
Are the words, phrases and concepts used familiar to the user?
Does the task sequence parallel the user's work processes?
Is information presented in a simple, natural and logical order?
Is the use of metaphors easily understandable by the user?
Does the system cater for users with no prior experience of electronic devices?
Does the system make the user's work easier and quicker than without the system?
Does the system fit in with the environment in which the user's tasks are carried out?
Can the system realistically reflect real world situations and appear to respond to 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 (eg links back to homepage)?

Consistency and standards

Is the use of terminology, controls, graphics and menus consistent throughout the system?
Is there consistency between data entry and data display?
Is the interface consistent with any platform conventions?
Have ambiguous phrases/actions been avoided?
Is the interface consistent with standard PC conventions?
Is interactive TV consistent with the related TV programmes (and are the colours consistent between them)?
Have colour and style conventions been followed for links (and no other text)?

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)?
Does the system ensure work is not lost either by user or system error?
Does the system prevent calls being accidentally made?
Are the options given in dialog boxes obvious?
Does the system provide foolproof synchronization with a PC?
Has the possibility of the user making errors been removed?
Is the system robust and safe enough for its surroundings?

Recognition rather than recall

Are help and instructions visible or easily accessible when needed?
Is the relationship between controls and their actions obvious?
Is it possible to search for information (eg a phone number) rather than entering the information directly?
Is the functionality of the buttons on the device obvious from their labels?
Are input formats (eg dates or lengths of names) and units of values indicated?
Is the functionality of novel device controls (eg thumbwheels) obvious?

Flexibility and efficiency of use

Does the system allow for a range of user expertise?
Does the system guide novice users sufficiently?
Is it possible for expert users to use shortcuts and to tailor frequent actions?
Is it possible to access and re-use a recent history of instructions (eg recently called numbers)?
Does the system allow for a range of user goals and interaction styles?
Does the system allow all functionality to be accessed either using function buttons or using the stylus?
Is it possible to replace and restore default settings easily?
Have unnecessary registrations been avoided?

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?
Is the information displayed at any one time kept to a minimum?
Is the number of applications provided appropriate (and has 'featuritis' been avoided)?
Has the need to scroll been minimized and where necessary, are navigation facilities repeated at the bottom of the screen?
Is the system easy to remember how to use?
Have excessive scripts, applets, movies, graphics and images been avoided?

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?
Is it clear how the user can recover from errors?

Help and documentation

Is help clear and direct and simply expressed in plain English, free from jargon and buzzwords?
Is help provided in a series of steps that can be easily followed?
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)?
Does the system track where the user was in the last session (and any progress made)?
Has opening unecessary new browser windows been avoided?

Use of modes

Does the system use different modes appropriately and effectively?
Is it easy to exit from each mode of use?

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?
Does each screen comprise 1 document on 1 topic with the most important information appearing at the top?
Has hypertext been used appropriately to structure content and are links intuitive and descriptive?
Have pages been structured to facilitate scanning by the reader?
Are the URLs, page titles and headlines straightforward, short and descriptive?
Has excessive use of whitespace been avoided?
Has textual content been kept to a maximum of two columns?


Is the system fun to use?

Physical constraints

Are function buttons large enough to be usable?
Is the screen visible at a range of distances and in various types of lighting?
Does the touch-screen cater for users touching the screen quickly and slowly?
Is the distance between targets (eg icons) and the size of the 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)?
Do the buttons allow for use by older, less agile fingers or people wearing gloves?
Do buttons give tactile feedback when selected?
Is the touch-screen usable by people of all heights and those in wheelchairs?
Are equivalent alternatives provided for visual and auditory content?
Have accessibility and internationalization guidelines been applied if appropriate?

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