Suggested heuristics for Tablet PCs, and applications.

Visibility of system status

Is status feedback provided continuously (eg progress indicators or messages)?
Are warning messages displayed for long enough?

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?

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)?

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 the interface consistent with any platform conventions?
Is the interface consistent with standard PC conventions?

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 device ensure work (eg an unsaved document) is not lost either by user or system error?
Are the options given in dialog boxes obvious?

Recognition rather than recall

Are help and instructions visible or easily accessible when needed?
Is the relationship between controls and their actions obvious?
Is the functionality of the buttons on the device obvious from their labels?
Are input formats (eg dates or lengths of names) indicated?

Flexibility and efficiency of use

Does the device allow for a range of user expertise?
Does the device guide novice users sufficiently?
Is it possible for expert users to use shortcuts and to tailor frequent actions?
Does the device allow for a range of user goals (eg diary, word processing, wireless internet) and interaction styles?
Is it possible to replace and restore default settings easily?

Aesthetic and minimalist design

Is the design simple, intuitive, easy to learn and pleasing?
Is the device free from irrelevant, unnecessary and distracting information?
Are icons clear and buttons labelled and is the use of graphic controls obvious?

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 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)?

Use of modes

Does the device use different modes appropriately and effectively?

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?

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?

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