Let’s Talk UI Design: Heuristic 1, Visibility of System Status

Hello again everyone!  Today is post one of the Usability Heuristics series.  I’ll be discussing the first heuristic by Jakob Nielsen, “Visiblity of System Status.  I’ll be using the example I did from my Heuristic Overview post, and that is Zola’s Vintage Clothing and Accessories.

Here’s what I said before:

Visibility of system status 

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


People get confused easily! You need to let users know what is on the page, where they are in the product, or how long til they get to their target destination.  Examples of this includes Highlighted Navigation, Breadcrumbs, Loading Percentages, Progress bars.

Alright down to business.  I put down Zola as a good example of this heuristic because it follows this convention to down to a T.  The website’s layout is a simple design.  It primarily uses white with orange as an accent color.  The navigation element is plainly seen in view and doesn’t become “lost in the design” because of its large blockiness and alarming bold color.  With each page I click on I know exactly where I am simply because of that navigation.

So, how does it work and why is it important?

We focus on what we want, not necessarily everything around it. Our goals affect our perception of things.  Sometimes, looking for certain items cause us to go into places we know nothing about.  Keeping the status of the page of which we are on allows us to focus on the task at hand without worry.  We know where we are or what’s the status of the UI.

We won’t become confused and in fear of where we are.  Nobody likes to feel stupid.  People’s experience goals can be anything they want to feel while using a product, and it’s USUALLY ANYTHING BUT STUPID.  As designers, it’s very important that we create something that’s intuitive and easy to recognize.  If a user is feeling “stupid” on our creations, then we have messed up horribly.

——User First, Designer Second——


3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk UI Design: Heuristic 1, Visibility of System Status

  1. I liked how you brought up the idea of nobody likes to feel stupid. Some times it is my fault, but more often then not when I feel stupid because of a technology it is because the designer placed something that could be mis interpreted. For example I could not find the blogs that I was following for five whole minutes because I could not find the link to it. Even then I had to go to wordpress reader to see the blogs i was following.
    On a second note I liked how you bolded specific sentences which follows heuristics as well. the layout of your blog isn’t boring either.


  2. Pingback: Let’s Talk UI Design: Heuristic 5, Error Prevention | Mad Hatter
  3. Pingback: Other blogs | Humans with Computers

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