Nielsen, Molich’s Guidelines for User Interface Design

As a designer, you need to be critical about your designs and also the designs of others with proper reasoning. If you apply the 10 rules of Nielsen and Molich’s for evaluating the interface design, you can be able to recognize all potential issues. It can guide you as well as your team to create a better User Experience for the users.

The general principles for interaction designs are highly useful guidelines and are also known as ‘heuristic’ design. The term ‘heuristic’ applied here is because the guidelines are not for specific usability purposes, and these are broad rules of thumb. Here, you can get a broad overview of the useful guidelines that will help you to grow as a brilliant UX Designer, and to improve the design of a website or app.

Make every effort for consistency

Make every effort for consistency

Keep your words and actions consistent so that users never get confused with the different words, actions or situations. When you keep your words and actions simple and consistent, the users will have a better understanding of your communications and more likely to accept your design dearly. Always ensure to use all elements of your design consistently to produce the best result.

If you are using a certain style of button, it should always perform the same thing, and your navigation through the website should function logically. You should maintain consistency in workflow and functionalities to have coherence between your words and action. Also, there should be consistency in the terminology used in the design and the appearance of the design.

Ensure full visibility of the system status

Users should always be able to know about the status of the system operations with appropriate feedback within a reasonable time. It is possible when you provide a highly visible status that is easy to understand displayed prominently on the screen. The users always want to remain in full control and want the system behaves as per the expectations of the users.

Do not baffle the users with surprises and make your UX Design process perfectly easy for the users to understand. When the actions are minor and frequent, be a modes response, however, for major and infrequent actions, the response needs to be more substantial. A relevant, comprehensive and meaningful response within an appropriate time is what can make the system visible fully.

Match the system with the real world

Users feel comfortable when there is no need to guess and the system should be able to speak the language of the users. The use of the phrase and the concepts that are familiar to the users will make a useful design than using special system terms. The action sequencing should start with a beginning followed by middle and end, and a notification message should be there to inform the users that the user completed all needed actions.

User control and freedom for easy reversal of action

When users know that any error made can be undone, it can relieve the anxiety to a great extent. With this option, the users can happily explore unfamiliar options and decide for the next action. It can be ‘undo’ or ‘redo’ functionality in the applications, and the reversal of actions should not interfere with workflow.

Handling and prevention of error

When users do something wrong, they usually feel very bad about it. You should endeavor to create the interface design free of error-prone conditions or you can notify the users before the users commit any action that can lead to error. The system should be able to detect any error caused and should offer a comprehensive solution for handling the error.

Recognization can be easier than recall

As per Nielsen, it is always easier to recognize something than remembering. Considering this as your UX Design guide you should provide objects, options, and actions that can minimize the memory load of the users. Information with visible instruction can be useful to remember information all through the interaction. 

The use of iconography and other useful visual aids like the consistent placement of the items or themed coloring can be helpful for the users to find the functionalities.

Enable shortcuts to frequent users

Users should be able to manipulate and personalize the actions done frequently. Function keys, abbreviations, and macro facilities can be very helpful for an expert user.

Minimalist design and aesthetics

The human brain can process a limited amount of information only at a time. There are some interfaces too cluttered and a lack of hierarchy makes it difficult to focus properly. Anesthetics and minimalist design can be very important to deal with such limitations and can provide a great UX Design experience. 

User should recognize, and diagnose and recover quickly from errors

Error messages should express in plain language and should indicate the problem precisely. Is should also come up with a proper solution that can help the users. You should tell the users plainly and clearly what is happening when the users act and on the background.

Help and documentation

An interface without documentation can be good; however, it may be necessary to provide documentation and help. Focused on the task of the user, help should enable to search for any information easily, and should provide a list of concrete steps with precise information.


You will be able to design great usability, desirability, and utility in mind if you follow the Nielson’s and Molich’s guidelines for 10 user interface. You will also be able to support your design having well-researched heuristics like the highly successful companies. It can boost your confidence in making creative designs that can be beautiful as well as usable.

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