10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design

Set of Free Posters by Agente.
JPG, EPS formats.

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What is Heuristics?

Photo of Jakob Nielsen

Jakob Nielsen

Back in 1994, Jakob Nielsen wrote an article for Nielsen Norman Group called “10 Usability Heuristics” which outlined some general principles for interface design. These principles are called "heuristics" because they serve more as broad rules of thumb than a set of hard rules.

Fast forward a few decades, and they still hold up as a checklist for any interface to create the design that makes sense.

This page features the 10 posters of usability heuristics we have designed and a free download of the artwork. We hope you find these as inspiring as we have.

10 Usability Heuristics

Visibility of
system status

Help and

Flexibility and
efficiency of use


Recognize, and
Recover from Errors

User control
and freedom

System and
the real world match

rather than recall

Aesthetic and
minimalist design

and standards


Visibility of system status

The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within reasonable time.


Match between system and the real world

The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.


User control and freedom

Users often choose system functions by mistake and will need a clearly marked "emergency exit" to leave the unwanted state without having to go through an extended dialogue. Support undo and redo.


Consistency and standards

Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing.


Error prevention

Even better than good error messages is a careful design which prevents a problem from occurring in the first place. Either eliminate error-prone conditions or check for them and present users with a confirmation option before they commit to the action.


Recognition rather than recall

Minimize the user's memory load by making objects, actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another. Instructions for use of the system should be visible or easily retrievable whenever appropriate.


Flexibility and efficiency of use

Accelerators — unseen by the novice user — may often speed up the interaction for the expert user such that the system can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users to tailor frequent actions.


Aesthetic and minimalist design

Dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility.


Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors

Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution.


Help and documentation

Even though it is better if the system can be used without documentation, it may be necessary to provide help and documentation. Any such information should be easy to search, focused on the user's task, list concrete steps to be carried out, and not be too large.


Our Free Posters on 10 Usability Heuristics

This page features the 10 posters we have designed and, at the end, we have included a free download of the artwork in eps and jpg formats. We hope you find these as inspiring as we have and please, don’t hesitate to share these with your colleagues.

How to Get The Posters?

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