Flexibility and efficiency of use heuristic principle is about giving your users ways to speed up their work with more efficiency and flexibility.
It’s the seventh heuristics guideline of Nielsen’s Heuristics. Put in Nielsen’s words,
Accelerators — unseen by the novice user — may often speed up the interaction for the expert user such that the system can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users to tailor frequent actions.
Examples of Flexibility and efficiency of use –
Almost every software like Adobe Photoshop, Sketch provides shortcut commands to its users. While few shortcuts command like those for copy, cut, redo undo are almost universal in nature, there are few which are subjective to the software. Yet with repeated use, users get the hang of these.
Mac OS gives the users the freedom to create their custom keyboard and shortcut commands.
Another way through which you can enhance efficiency for users is to give them easy access to functionality that they need the most.
So on a Banking app, if someone wants to transfer money – giving them the list of their most common and recent transaction saves both time and mental effort.
Giving users the flexibility makes the overall user experience more enjoyable and efficient.
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How to do it?
Think critically about points in your users’ journey where you can offer them an opportunity to save time or bypass a lengthy process.
- Most critical paths in the user journey
- Details/steps that can be autocompleted or saved for the next time
- Take note of the shortcuts your competitors are already providing or shortcuts that are like norms
Can you think of any examples where the system provides flexibility and efficiency of use?