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Weinschenk & Barker Classification Cheat Sheet by

classification     heuristics     weinschenk     barker


The main goal of heuristic evalua­tions is to identify any problems associated with the design of user interf­aces. Usability consultant Jakob Nielsen developed this method on the basis of several years of experience in teaching and consulting about usability engine­ering. Heuristic evalua­tions are one of the most informal methods[ of usability inspection in the field of human-­com­puter intera­ction.

There are many sets of usability design heuris­tics; they are not mutually exclusive and cover many of the same aspects of user interface design. Quite often, usability problems that are discovered are catego­riz­ed—­often on a numeric scale—­acc­ording to their estimated impact on user perfor­mance or accept­ance.

Often the heuristic evaluation is conducted in the context of use cases (typical user tasks), to provide feedback to the developers on the extent to which the interface is likely to be compatible with the intended users’ needs and prefer­ences.


The simplicity of heuristic evaluation is beneficial at the early stages of design. This usability inspection method does not require user testing which can be burdensome due to the need for users, a place to test them and a payment for their time. Heuristic evaluation requires only one expert, reducing the complexity and expended time for evalua­tion. Most heuristic evalua­tions can be accomp­lished in a matter of days.

The time required varies with the size of the artifact, its comple­xity, the purpose of the review, the nature of the usability issues that arise in the review, and the competence of the reviewers. Using heuristic evaluation prior to user testing will reduce the number and severity of design errors discovered by users.

Although heuristic evaluation can uncover many major usability issues in a short period of time, a criticism that is often leveled is that results are highly influenced by the knowledge of the expert review­er(s). This “one-s­ided” review repeatedly has different results than software perfor­mance testing, each type of testing uncovering a different set of problems.

The Heuristics

1. User control heuristics that check whether the user has enough control of the interface.
2. Human limita­tions the design takes into account human limita­tions, cognitive and sensorial, to avoid overlo­ading them.
3. Modal integr­ity the interface uses the most suitable modality for each task** auditory, visual, or motor/­kin­est­hetic.
4. Accomm­oda­tion the design is adequate to fulfill the needs and behaviour of each targeted user group.
5. Linguistic clarity the language used to commun­icate is efficient, clear and adequate to the audience.
6. Aesthetic integr­ity the design is visually attractive and tailored to appeal to the target popula­tion.
7. Simpli­city the design does not use unnece­ssary comple­xity.
8. Predic­tab­ility users will be able to form a mental model of how the system will behave in response to actions.
9. Interp­ret­ation there are codified rules that try to guess the user intentions and anticipate the actions needed.
10. Accuracy There are no errors, i.e. the result of user actions correspond to their goals.
11. Technical clarity the concepts repres­ented in the interface have the highest possible corres­pon­dence to the problem domain **they are modeling.
12. Flexib­ility the design can be adjusted to the needs and behaviour of each particular user.
13. Fulfil­lment the user experience is adequate and the user feels good about the experi­ence.
14. Cultural propri­ety the user's cultural and social expect­ations are met.
15. Suitable tempo the pace at which users works with the system is adequate.
16. Consis­tency different parts of the system have the same style, so that there are no different ways to represent the same inform­ation or behavior.
17. User support the design will support learning and provide the required assistance to usage.
18. Precis­ion the steps and results of a task will be what the user wants.
19. Forgiv­eness the user will be able to recover to an adequate state after an error.
20. Respon­siv­eness the interface provides the user enough feedback inform­ation about the system status and their task comple­tion.

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