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,

Think-aloud (or thinking aloud) protocol (also talk-aloud protocol) is a protocol used to gather data in usability testing in product design and development, in psychology and a range of social sciences (e.g., reading, writing, translation research, ...

The Kano model is a theory for product development and customer satisfaction developed in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano, which classifies customer preferences into five categories. Helps determine and prioritize which product att...

Objects and environments should be designed to be usable, without modification, by as many people as possible. The principle of accessibility asserts that designs should be usable by people of diverse abilities, without special adaptation or modific...

Comparing two versions of a design to see which performs better against a predetermined goal • A/B testing is an optimization technique that allows you to compare two different versions of a design to see which one gets you closer to a business ob...

The placement of elements such that edges line up along common rows or columns, or their bodies along a common center. Alignment The whole point of the alignment principle is that nothing in your slide design should look as if it were pla...

An interview in qualitative research is a conversation where questions are asked to elicit information. The interviewer is usually a professional or paid researcher, sometimes trained, who poses questions to the interviewee, in an alternating series ...