A heuristic is also known as a rule of thumb—a generally accurate guideline based on the experiential knowledge of how something works best. We use countless heuristics day-to-day to help simplify our lives and avoid complications. Rules like these provide a quick safety check in our daily activities.
In much the same way, designers use heuristics as a way to formulate and evaluate solutions. Drawing from experience, experts have learned that a design’s failure or success can often be predicted by how well it addresses the following principles of good design:
1) Match mental model; 2) Minimize perceived complexity; 3) Use consistent form, words, and actions; 4) Provide a sense of place; 5) Account for user and environmental constraints; 6) Anticipate needs; 7) Use clear and concise language; 8) Give feedback about actions and status; 9) Prevent errors and provide graceful recovery; 10) Strive for appropriate and minimal aesthetics.