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Information Architecture Heuristics

In my experience, one of the most powerful things you can do as an information architect is to step back and look at something from a new perspective. My set of information architecture heuristics aims to be that fresh perspective, whether being applied to something you are seeking to change and want a more clear language for what’s weak and why or being applied to something you are currently working on and want critique on at whatever stage of the creative process.

These 10 principles were developed after doing a broad survey of academic work in both the human centered design and information science fields of studies. They are made for people who don’t have time and/or appetite to do that kind of broad survey, but want that kind of collective wisdom to apply to their work. 

  • Findable: Able to be located
  • Accessible: Easily approached and/or entered
  • Clear: Easily Perceptible
  • Communicative: Talkative, informing, timely
  • Useful: Capable of producing the desired or intended result
  • Credible: Worthy of confidence, reliable
  • Controllable: Able to adjust to a requirement
  • Valuable: Of great use, service and importance
  • Learnable: To fix in the mind, in the memory
  • Delightful: Greatly pleasing

Heuristic Tools for Sale

Heuristic Principle Poster 2020 Redesign ($30 on Etsy)

Person holding printed copy of the IA Heuristics poster.

Heuristic Review Interactive PDF Workbook ($20 on Etsy)

Layout of the pages in the Heuristic Review Interactive Workbook.