Trusted answers to developer questions
Trusted Answers to Developer Questions

Related Tags

hci
ux
ui

What is the visibility of system status?

Sheza Naveed

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

Visibility of the system status is the first usability heuristic presented by the Neilson Norman group and refers to the extent to which the system’s state is conveyed to the user. Systems should constantly keep users informed about the system’s state by giving clear, appropriate, and timely feedback.

Only by being aware of the system status can we take appropriate actions and overcome the gulf of evaluation, reaching user goals.

Shortage of information leads to users having less control.

Feedback

Whenever users perform an action, they need to know whether the action was successful. Feedback informs the user of the current system status, thus assisting them with the next decisions they need to make regarding the upcoming actions.

Feedback does not need to be complicated or excessively detailed. It can be as simple as a change of color or a progress bar indicator. It should convey the right message to the user in a simple manner, as shown below:

Source: NN group

As shown above, the selected interests are shown as picked clearly. This effectively conveys to the user what they have selected and guides their further actions regarding what they need to do next, i.e., if they want to select any more interests. Feedback can be of different types:

  • Visual: A visual cue, such as change of color or a tick mark appearing.

  • Audio: Some sounds that indicate that, for example, a button has been clicked, etc.

  • Haptic: Cue related to the sense of touch, such as the device vibrating, etc.

Feedback should be immediate, even if the final result of the action cannot be displayed immediately, we need to include a small sign that conveys to the users that the action they performed has caused some effect. This allows the user to rectify any errors made, too. The progress bar indicator below shows that a certain action is being performed.

Source: Medium

Impel users to perform an action

Displaying irrelevant details might not be a good idea, such as the stock left for an item or which size of files that users are transferring at the current moment through the service.

However, we can convey information that can encourage users to perform an action. Telling the users that few pieces are left in stock or that many users are currently using the service to transfer files can compel them.

Also, conveying to the user if an action is not possible, such as a file larger than a specific size, can help the user and prevent them from trying to repeat the action. Conveying to the user how far they are from unlocking a discount code or free shipping can also encourage purchases.

Communication with users

Clear and effective communication with users regarding the system status is essential, as it allows the user to understand why a certain action was performed by the website.

This can help in decreasing user frustration as well. For example, if the user has added items to wish list, and returns to find items are no longer available, it should be conveyed to the user that they are not available now, instead of the items just disappearing without any information provided.

Example

We Transfer provides a good example of communicating the system status to the users. While transferring the file, it shows the user how much has been transferred, as shown below:

Progress circle in We Transfer

After the file has been transferred, it tells the user that the file has been transferred, as shown below:

Action completed message on We Transfer

Keeping the user informed about what is happening decreases user anger and provides a better user experience.

RELATED TAGS

hci
ux
ui

CONTRIBUTOR

Sheza Naveed
Copyright ©2022 Educative, Inc. All rights reserved

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

Keep Exploring