I have developed ten user experience heuristics based on the empirical user experience studies conducted during my doctoral thesis work (Arhippainen, 2009). These heuristics can be freely used for any kind of product or service design and evaluation.
Ten User Experience Heuristics:
- Ensure usability. Users experience usability. It is important to ensure that the designed service or product is usable.
- Provide utility matching with the user’s values. Utility of the product or service affects the user experience. Perceived utility forgive lacks in usability or other product qualities. Utility is related closely to the user’s values. The user compares the utility of the product against his/her values when choosing to use it.
- Surpass the user’s expectations. Often, the user’s expectations are negative for no reason. Expectations have been formulated via prior experiences or rumor of the product, and thus expectation may have nothing to do with the product in question. The product should be able to catch the user’s attention in a positive way and get a user start to use the product, and then surpass his expectations by easiness, pleasure, utility, whatever quality could fit in the case.
- Respect the user. Know the target user groups. A user’s background has a strong impact on how he/she will perceive the product or system. In addition to the user’s needs and actions, designers are required to understand the user’s values, prior experiences, user type, skills, restrictions, etc. The better the service fits the user’s world, the better experiences the user will have.
- Design the product or service to fit the intended contexts. The service or product is always used in particular contextual circumstances: the user is using a product in a physical situation, with a company or alone through the specific cultural habits and way of life in a certain temporal moment. All these context factors have impacts on user experience.
- Provide several ways to interact, leave choice for the user. People are different and prefer several ways to interact with products and services. It is important to provide several ways to interact. Provide manual and adaptive controls and, touch, gestures and voice based controlling when possible.
- Respect the user’s privacy and security. The world is digital and technologically oriented. Even though attitudes have changed to be more open for technological solutions, people are still concerned about privacy and security issues. User experience is always dependent on the uncertainty of how reliable the service is in terms of privacy and security.
- Support the user’s activities – do not force. All services should be shown from a supportive perspective, e.g. how does this service support me in my actions and everyday life. The service is not allowed to force a user. Forcing will have a negative impact on user experience.
- Go for a perfect visual design. From a user experience point of view, visual aspects have two meanings. The first is that the visual design can improve usability by making the user interface more understandable, consistent and guiding. The other meaning is to make the user interface aesthetically pleasurable by designing visual aspects. Moreover, selections in visual design, for instance, use of colors, can have an impact on user experience by the values one respect (such as health, fitness, nature, beauty).
- Give a surprise gift. This means that people want more. Usability is not enough. “Jackknife phone” is not enough. Users need some extra, which makes them happy: surpass expectations, increase and improve user’s experiences. Breadth of experience is not allowed to decrease. User experience is the seventh sense that people use for sensing technology – sensing life within technology.
You can utilise these forms for UX heuristic evaluation:
- Arhippainen, L. (2013) User Experience Heuristics. Tutorial in MUM Conference, Luleå, Sweden. 3.12.2013. pdf
- Arhippainen, L. A Tutorial of Ten User Experience Heuristics. Tutorial in Academic MindTrek Conference, 1.10.2013. ACM Press (2013), 336-337.
- Arhippainen, L. (2009) Studying user experience: issues and problems of mobile services – Case ADAMOS: User experience (im)possible to catch? University of Oulu. Department of Information Processing Science. Doctoral thesis. 245. pdf