UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 734 September 28, 2011

Psychological Usability Heuristics

Some time ago, Susan Weinschenk wrote about the psychologist’s view of UX design, listing a number of facts about the human mind that can be directly applied to interface design. And I think that's an important point; although usability experts try to put the user in the center of every step of the design process, formalized principles and best practices usually only address technical aspects of the development of interfaces. That's the case with most of the principles used when evaluating interfaces in heuristic evaluations.

So why don't we use Susan’s psychological facts as heuristic principles when evaluating interfaces, instead of just the technical ones? To that end, I have translated Susan's points into a checklist of heuristic principles that can be used to evaluate interfaces. I have created it in the form of a spreadsheet to make evaluations easier. Here you have it:

Psychological Usability Heuristics spreadsheet (Google Docs)


User Profile

Jordi Sánchez is an Information Systems Engineer who tries to develop his work in the border areas between human and computers, and between research and real projects. Currently he works at the Institute of Computer Technology (ITI) in Valencia, Spain, as a Project Leader on projects related to software usability and accessibility. He is also working on his HCI master's thesis about User-Centered Design. He occasionally writes on his personal web page, and he's also on Twitter @jordisan.

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I have and am getting through the 100 Things.. book, and it has a wealth of knowledge. Some of it reintroduces concepts from her NeuroWeb book but there is lots more. The book is easily digestible and I recommend everyone get it and start chewing through it.
This concept of the heuristics from rules is definitely harder than it looks. Your spreadsheet is off to a good start. My first comment (and I may have more later) is that the statements need to be from only one particular point of view, either the system or the user. As is, the statements are mixed point-of-view, and so it makes it somewhat harder to follow. I think when you do a couple of iterations of this, it will be a very valuable tool indeed. I've long been looking to have something like this. I ran across another spreadsheet once, and it looked interesting (I believe it was from Xerox) but it was a bit complex.

I LOVE this! Thanks for sharing.

Great Work!