Add UI heuristic checklist to Contributor Guide

Add UI heuristic checklist to Contributor Guide

Add an OpenStack UI heuristic checklist within the OpenStack Documentation Contributor Guide under the UI guidelines section.

Problem description

The OpenStack UX project is interested in adding a section to the OpenStack Documentation Contributor Guide that provides a graphical user interfaces (GUI) heuristic checklist developed by the OpenStack project teams: UX and ID with input from Horizon and OpenStack CLI. The content is connected to the UI text guidelines we published for Mitaka.

Heuristic evaluations are a simple inspection method that allows engineers and designers to review designs for common usability issues. The benefits are that heuristics are low-cost and relatively easy to use for individuals that are evaluating a design. An additional benefit of heuristics is that they help maintain consistency and transparency in how multiple designs are reviewed.

An example of a heuristic includes the “10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design” developed by Jakob Nielsen in the 1990’s that includes principles for error recovery and system status. The OpenStack community heuristic includes principles that are specific to developing for the cloud and include a focus on designing to scale along with examples such as the number of images within a typical production deployment.

The working draft of these guidelines is in progress and can be viewed here:

The value of this effort is to help provide an improved usability for operators, admins, and end users by creating tools that help promote consistency in OpenStack GUI interfaces.

Proposed change

In a new UX/UI section of the contributor guide, add a topic for the UI heuristic checklist. The heuristic checklist could be added as a peer to both the UI text guidelines (already exist) and to the (proposed) UX personas section within the OpenStack Documentation Contributor Guide.

Proposed table of contents:

UX/UI guidelines (section title updated to reflect broader scope)

  • Value/Intro
  • UI text guidelines (already exist)
  • UI heuristic checklist (new, proposed by this spec)
  • UX personas (new, proposed in separate spec)


  1. Do not add UI heuristic checklist.

  2. Add checklist, but create it in a new guide for UX design. An email was distributed to the doc project regarding the idea of a new UX design guide to house UX-related resources and tools for a cross-project audience. These were the options discussed in the email, sent 3/7/16. Please see email for more detail and history.

    Option A

    Create a OpenStack UX Design Guide: Tools for developers guide, under the Contributor Guides section on The guide would house UX design materials, like engaging UX, personas, use cases, resources section with heuristic checklists, etc. Basically, creating a design corner concept with guide name tbd.

    • Pros: Peer to other contributor guides - creates a more prominent focus on UX/UI design in OpenStack, we could reference guide from appropriate locations to increase visibility
    • Cons: New guide - logistics more complicated, logistics help needed Takes longer to get reviews going
    Option B: Add to the existing Doc Contributor Guide, but modify the

    guide’s scope.

    • Pros: Existing guide - logistics easier, content would be available to review sooner UI guidelines content in one location (The new UI heuristic checklist links to the UI text guidelines that we recently added to the doc contributor guide.)
    • Cons: Not just for text guidelines anymore, so the guide’s current scope would expand slightly to include a section specifically on UX/UI tools for a cross-project audience.
    Option C: Add to the existing Doc Contributor Guide as-is,

    potentially adjust later…

    • Pros: Content available for review quickly, lowest logistical impact
    • Cons: scope could be confusing for users, adjusting later delays some work


Work Items

  • Reach a consensus on new section’s location and content structure.
  • Identify new topics to be created and submit content/reviews using the [blueprint ui-hueristic-checklist] tag.


This work is a collaboration between the UX and Doc team that requires UX project team input and creation of the heuristic checklist.


Testing will follow the standard documentation review process.


  • Discussion can occur using any official medium including IRC in #openstack-doc, the openstack-docs mailing list with [ui-heuristic-checklist] in the subject.
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