The usability of a system is improved when its status and methods of use are clearly visible.
The more visible functions are, the more likely users will be able to know what to do next. Incontrast, when functions are “out of sight,” it makes them more difficult to find and know how to use.
— Don Norman
According to the principle of visibility, systems are more usable when they clearly indicate their status, the possible actions that can be performed, and the consequences of the actions once performed. This is based on the fact that people are better at recognizing solutions when selecting from a set of options, than recalling solutions from memory. When it comes to the design of complex systems, the principle of visibility is perhaps the most important and most violated principle of design.
Implementing this principle relays on many others such as Visual Hierarchical, Empathy, etc. and as the best practices it should also aligned with Pareto Principle. To incorporate visibility into a complex system, one must consider the number of conditions, the number of options per condition and number of outcomes.
Example: A software menu. The category names remain visible, but the controls and information remain concealed until the parent control is activated. Context sensitivity reveals and conceals controls and information based on different system contexts. Relevant controls and information for a particular context are made highly visible, and irrelevant controls (e.g., unavailable functions), are minimized or hidden.
- Coursera – Design Principles
- Universal Principles Design
- The Design of Everyday Things
- Introduction to Design and Development Principles
- Usability Heuristics for Bots
- Visibility: 5 Principles of Interaction Design To Supercharge Your UI
Contextual design (CD) is a user-centered design process developed by Hugh Beyer and Karen Holtzblatt. It incorporates ethnographic methods for gathering data relevant to the product via field studies, rationalizing workflows, and designing human-co...
Usability Testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users. Typically, during a test, participants will try to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen and takes notes. The goal is to identify an...
A design charrette is a short, collaborative meeting during which members of a team quickly collaborate and sketch designs to explore and share a broad diversity of design ideas. Designers and non-designers—including project stakeholders, engi...
Scenarios describe the stories and context behind why a specific user or user group comes to your site. They note the goals and questions to be achieved and sometimes define the possibilities of how the user(s) can achieve them on the site. A ...
The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping and testing ideas with customers. Developed at GV, it’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking...
The design-thinking ideology asserts that a hands-on, user-centric approach to problem-solving can lead to innovation, and innovation can lead to differentiation and a competitive advantage. This hands-on, user-centric approach is defined by the desi...