Most entrepreneurs and managers, as well as web design agencies in Egypt, started to be aware (finally) that usability is a key point when it comes to designing user interfaces, they also know all the things that you should just strive for to build a good user experience, but they don’t know what methods and techniques to use to actually achieve this.

In her talk “But How: Methods and techniques to make a good user interface” Janne Jul Jensen, the Senior User Experience Architect at LEGO Group summarized the 10 major principles for good usability.

Those 10 principles are:

1. Simple and Natural Dialogue

The dialogue that the user has with his computer should be simple and natural and that doesn’t mean the natural language of the computer because users usually don’t get it, use the normal language of the user, that takes us to the second point.

2. Speak the user language

That doesn’t mean you can’t speak the business language of some sort. If you are working on a specific industry project, surely this industry has its area of expertise and its language, use it, and don’t use your area of expertise (Computer language) because they won’t get it.

3. Minimize memory load

People are really bad at remembering stuff, fortunately, computers are good at it, nevertheless, we have a tendency to make the user remembers rather than the computer, that what computer is good at, make use of this.

4. Use constructive error messages

Sometimes the user is given an error message with hex code, or someplace in the memory to check, remember the user isn’t a software engineer, he already knows that there is an error, he just wants to know why it occurred in the first place and how it can be solved.

5. Support recalls

It’s a lot easier for human beings to recollect something from before rather than having to remember something out of the thin air, meaning if you are giving a user a finite amount of choices he will be able to recognize in those choices what he’s looking for rather than giving him a free text field that he has to fill out on his own, so make recalls an integrated part of

what you do it’s a lot easier than having to use his memory.

6. Make Clear Exits

Never get the users into a corner where they don’t know how to get out again, always give them exits, make sure that if they’ve cornered themselves you’ll say ”Ok, this is not what you wanted I know that, here is the exit, that’s how you move on from there”,

7. Make Shortcuts

Shortcuts are brilliant because it helps the expert users without bothering the novice users. Most people have some shortcuts incorporated into what they do on a daily basis, for example, CTRL+C, CTRL+V, etc.. The good thing about those shortcuts is that they don’t bother the novice user usually you don’t discover shortcuts until you’re ready to start using them and then you gradually incorporate them into what you do. So that’s one way of making a system that has to cater to a broad spectrum of users.

8. Give feedback

Always tell the user what is going on, users don’t have faith in computer systems, as mentioned above in the error messages that you should always make sure to let them know if something goes wrong, also you have to tell them when something goes right, if they don’t get the message

says something installed successfully they aren’t sure it is installed, also tell them how far in a process they are if it’s a process that users control, tell them how many steps there or if it’s a process the computer is in the middle of, such as installing stuff tell them how long they have to wait.

9. Prevent errors

It’s good to use constructive error messages but it’s much better if you can prevent the errors if you can anticipate where they’re going to run into problems do what you can to make sure that it never happens in the first place.

10. Thrive for consistency

People tend to poll on what they’ve learned in the past so you wanna make sure that what they

learned in the past also applies in your software all the time and in all the different places because that’s what they gonna try.

Those are the usability principles that you should be always striving for, they have to be fulfilled in your website or mobile application, always make those principles an essential part of your design process from the early wireframing up to the final product.

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