Nielsen's Heuristic #9 - Error Recovery - is this heuristic even necessary?

Nielsen is an awesome role model but I’ve always had a peeve about Nielsen’s # 9 Heuristic - Error Recovery - Help users recognize, diagnose and recover from an error. I think it’s added as a filler so the Heuristics could be rounded nicely to an even 10.

Is it not simply a combination of Heuristic #1: Give Feedback , #2: Speak User’s Language, #3: Allow Users to Undo or Escape from Mistakes or undesired actions and #5: Prevent errors through design?



I’d never really noticed before but now that you mention it I can kinda see what you’re saying! I wonder if others have a counter argument.

sort of related - i feel like a lot of design wisdom in written form is babbling on, over-fitting, hair splitting, career advancement. maybe i’m just not the right person to take advantage of it at this point in my life. maybe i’m just hangry.

my hangry take: there are some basics, and you connect the basics with your particular situation by speaking with your team, critical thinking, + trial and error.

so basically, it wouldn’t surprise me if your claim felt totally true (it sort of does), because it would be difficult to know without the context and experience. and it also seems somehow true that they’d be nudged to make a top 10 list rather than a top 9 list - which makes me suspicious (if i wasn’t already :"D)

1 Like

I can see if you design for users not to make errors then the yes the step of recovery would be unnecessary. I await the day where all users can feel safe and free from failing, as their intuition was designed for. :slight_smile: