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 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.

Observations

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.

Further Readings

More Readings,

Visual structures of new ideas and concepts Brainstorming creates a judgment-free zone to express creative ideas and explore new concepts. Widely accepted rules include, “quantity over quality,” “withhold judgment and criticism,” ...

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...

Elements that move in the same direction are perceived to be more related than elements that move in different directions or are stationary. Perceptual organization of movement. In perception: Gestalt principles. One Gestalt principle, that of commo...

A storyboard is a graphic organizer in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic, user interactions,  or interactive media sequence. A visual nar...

Eye tracking is the process of measuring either the point of gaze (where one is looking) or the motion of an eye relative to the head. An eye tracker is a device for measuring eye positions and eye movement. Technical information documenting whe...

The visible clustering of observations and insights into meaningful categories and relationships • Designers capture research insights, observations, concerns, or requirements on individual sticky notes. • Rather than grouping notes into predef...

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