Hurray for Heuristics! UX Rules of thumb you can’t afford to ignore!
30 May 2022 / Christa Nuijs
Whether you are building your own website or application from scratch or using any of the templates from site or app builders such as Wix, WordPress or Shopify, it is important that you are aware interface rules of thumb, or heuristics, that improve the usability e of your site and enhance user retention. The last thing you want is visitors to your site to leave before completing the desired actions because they were annoyed with the interface and user-“unfriendliness” of the site.
To ensure best practices it is worthwhile to subject your site to a heuristics evaluation. Here are some of the criteria you should look out for which will make your site or app more user friendly and enhance the overall experience interacting with your brand.
1. Polite & interesting
What is the tone of your website? Is it friendly, guiding, and engaging? Is your message clear and not overly long? Or has it a touch of a condescending “I know best” tone. Treat your web visitors as if they were a potential client you are meeting in person. Don’t bombard them with too much information. Instead, stick to the point in a warm and polite manner!
2. Common sense and match the real world
It should go without saying, but there are plenty of website where common sense has left the building. Call to action buttons hidden on the other side of a page, navigational labyrinths that take you not where you want to be etc. Use common sense when designing your website flow. If it deviates to far of how the process would develop in the real world, people will get annoyed and leave your site.
3. Don’t force your client / Give them autonomy over the process
Give your web visitors the time to browse and discover. Don’t force them into a subscription or a sale every step of the way. Don’t force them to the check-out if they are still looking for more options. Your visitor needs to feel in control. Take that away from them and they will abandon that shopping basket in an instant.
4. Be forthcoming and don’t waste your visitor’s time
Time is something none of us have enough of and the last thing your potential client wants is to get frustrated by your site because they can’t find an answer, they don’t understand what the next step in the process is or they are guided through unnecessary and irrelevant side processes. The more straight forward the process is, the more likely your client will return. Let them know what is next, what it involves and how long it takes, so they can make a risk/reward evaluation. They may decide today is not a good day to take this action, but when they have time they will return. However, if they are stopping halfway through, annoyed with the length of the process they weren’t prepared for, they may decide to not come back at all.
5. Visibility and confidence
How to proceed through your website should be clear, visible and guided with a confident tone. If your web flow keeps repeating questions, if it displays broken links or if it seems to question itself it reduced the tone of confidence of your site, your brand and it diminishes the confidence the potential client will have in you.
These are just a handful heuristics you can check for. To read more about this and how to apply these to your interface, check out Jakob Nielsen, who compiled the original 10 usability heuristics.
There are more UX tips and tools you can apply to the design of your site or app. Use this UX Design Principles Check List to improve the interaction of your brand experience instantly.