usability best practices
quick finder

User Research and Heuristic Evaluation are the keystones to excellence in web delivered application design.

Heuristics are "rules of thumbs", or "best practice" guidelines. It has been proven statistically that expert interface designers can examine a site or application and identify upwards of 90% of its usability issues by systematically applying design heuristics.

Over the years Tristream has forged it's knowledge of best practices in the foundries of direct experience with Fortune 500 companies.

Tristream's Top 10 Web-Delivered Application Heuristics

  1. User Goal directed design
    Application users have goals and are motivated to fulfill these goals through the tool’s tasks and procedures. Users should clearly understand how to do this, and the tool should support these goals.
  2. "Look and Feel" supports business strategy, user goals, and tool use
    Does the application look and feel like a professional level tool? Are the visual elements strategized to facilitate effective short and long-term tool use?
  3. Speed, flexibility and efficiency of use
    In every study tristream has conducted, speed and efficiency of use top the list of user concerns for web-delivered application tools. The system should be optimized for speed of use It should provide features for both new and experienced users, and whenever possible, allow for customization to facilitate core and/or frequent tasks and procedures.
  4. Intuitive navigation and controls
    Are navigation and application control elements intuitive, consistent, zoned, expandable, customizable, and globalizable? Does the user have to remember key activities and information or are these elements visible and/or easily retrievable?
  5. Correct informational hierarchy", The squint factor"
    Do all the visual and informational elements in the application tool present themselves emphasized to their correct level of importance and use.
  6. User workflow and taskflow resonance
    Does the application architecture, navigation, controls, tasks and procedures resonate in general with users’ normal taskflows and workflows, or does the application introduce unusual or foreign flows? It is understood that all applications will introduce a certain amount of new task and work flows. (note: Workflow here is used to indicate where multiple users work together on a task through the application. Taskflow indicates individual activities)
  7. Minimal, efficient, and consistent language and messaging
    Textual content is minimal, scannable, keyword oriented, in user’s natural work language, and written in inverted pyramid style (conclusions first and at highest level). Even dialogue boxes and informational elements should adhere to this standard.
  8. Appropriate use of screen real estate
    Is the screen real estate user task prioritized? The use of screen real estate in web-delivered applications is usually divided between branding and CI elements, controls and navigation, status reporting and help, and core user tasks. The primary real estate areas tend to the top and left of the screen.
  9. Status, feedback and help
    The application should always inform users as to what is going on and help them avoid, recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors The best applications will be designed in such a way as to require minimal help, but as needed help should be clearly available and to the point. Error messaging should be minimalist, clear, and friendly.
  10. Taking it off the screen
    Are screens printable or are there printable versions? Is there an ability to create summaries or reports of key information? Are these reports or printable screens in known standard formats, useful, and easily archived or shared with co-workers? Can key information be passed easily into other software tools either manually or automatically and/or emailed?