Developer Labs

Project Sunflower: Evaluation Based on Neilsen’s Heuristics

Project Sunflower: Evaluation Based on Neilsen’s Heuristics

Jakob Neilsen has devised ten general usability heuristics that help evaluate user interface design. Further to our usability research, these guidelines have been used to compare the user interface design of the iPad, Kindle and XOOM. The heuristics given by Neilsen are:

Visibility of System Status - The user should be informed of what is going on

Match between System and Real World - The system’s language should be familiar and follow real-world conventions

User Control and Freedom - System should support undo and redo to help user leave an unwanted state

Consistency and Standards - The meaning of words and actions should stay consistent inĀ  different situations

Error Prevention - Eliminate error-prone conditions or allow users to perform commit actions

Recognition rather than Recall - The user should be able to recognize the meaning of actions than having to recall their functions

Flexibility and Efficiency of Use - System should provide certain accelerators that help speed up interaction for expert users, however it should cater to both, novice and expert users efficiently

Aesthetic and Minimalistic Design - The design should be aesthetic, minimalistic and easy to understand

Help Users Recognize, diagnose and recover from errors - The system should assist users in recognizing, diagnosing and recovering from errors

Help and Documentation - Adequate help and documentation should be available to the user when needed

The study has been conducted based on user interaction with the eBook reading interface.

Results of the Analysis

The table shows the results obtained. It displays the areas where the devices do not agree with Neilsen’s Heuristics, and mentions the reason it does not fit the respective guideline(s).

Usability Heuristics iPad Kindle DX XOOM
Visibility of System Status - No Feedback on Downloads Download Progress bar not clearly visible
Match Between System and Real World Dynamically Changing Page Numbers and Location Shown in Percentages Locations Interpretation Needs to be Learnt Dynamically Changing Page Numbers and Location Shown in Percentages
User Control and Freedom No Forward Button No Forward Button No Forward Button
Consistency and Standards - - -
Error Prevention No ‘Commit’ actions Accidental ‘Back’ due to Slow Response Rate System Crashes
Recognition rather than Recall Use of Applications needs to be learnt Button functions need to be learnt Use of Applications and buttons needs to be learnt
Flexibility and Efficiency of Use Accelerators absent Accelerators absent Accelerators absent
Aesthetic and Minimalistic Design - - -
Help Users Recognize, Diagnose and Recover from Errors - - No suggestions for crashes
Help and Documentation None provided on-device - None provided on-device

This study further agrees with our previously done research indicating that the current eBook readers have some shortcomings that affect the user experience and there is more room for improvement that would lead to more satisfying user interaction with the device from an eBook reading perspective.