Summary: Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform and industry conventions.

<p> Download a free poster of Jakob’s Usability Heuristic #4 at the bottom of this article. </p><p> The fourth of Jakob Nielsen’s ten heuristics — consistency and standards — is key to creating applications that make sense for users. Think about the websites and applications you use: they all rely on well-established conventions. Blue underlined text is clickable, the shopping-cart icon shows the items you plan to purchase, the site logo is in the top left corner, a magnifier-glass icon stands for search — these are all examples of conventions that are used all the time in digital products and that make users’ lives easier.</p><p> Advocating for consistency and standards may seem like we’re pushing for all applications to look and act the same , but that’s not the case. Rather, when websites and applications adhere to standards, users know what to expect, learnability is increased, and confusion is reduced.</p>

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