Usability--What is it?


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A quick overview of usability, why it's important, what it costs, and how to learn more about it.

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  • Usability--What is it?

    1. 1. Usability: What is it? “ Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” - Frank Lloyd Wright
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>What is usability? </li></ul><ul><li>How do people use the web? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does it matter? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some examples? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is usability important? </li></ul><ul><li>What does it cost? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you do usability? </li></ul><ul><li>What to remember about usability? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I learn more about usability? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recommended reading and training </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. What is Usability? <ul><li>Usability is a measure of quality </li></ul><ul><li>It’s defined by six quality components: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul></ul>Source: Jakob Nielsen’s AlertBox: “ If you don't care about quality, you can meet any other requirement.” - Gerald M. Weinberg
    4. 4. What’s Wrong with These Pictures? <ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>Images courtesy of Usability Professionals Association: Image courtesy of Usability by Design:
    5. 5. Law #1 of Usability <ul><li>Don’t make me think </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate questions in user’s heads like: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why did they call it that ? Names of things should be obvious </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it clickable? Buttons should look like buttons; links should look like links. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to search? – use a search box labeled Search or a box with a button that says “Search” next to it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where am I? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where should I begin? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where did they put _______? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the most important things on this page? </li></ul></ul>? Points from Steve Krug’s book: Don’t make me think
    6. 6. How do people use the web? <ul><li>We usually muddle through, looking feverishly for anything that resembles what we’re looking for that is clickable. </li></ul><ul><li>If it doesn’t pan out, we click the Back button and try again. </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t read pages; we scan them. </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice. </li></ul>Points from Steve Krug’s book: Don’t make me think
    7. 7. Why does it matter? <ul><li>There’s a better chance they’ll find what they’re looking for. </li></ul><ul><li>There’s a better chance they’ll understand the full range of what we offer. </li></ul><ul><li>We have a better chance of steering them to the parts we want them to see. </li></ul><ul><li>They’ll feel smarter and more in control, which will bring them back. </li></ul>If we make something where users “get it”:
    8. 8. What’s Wrong with These Pictures? Submitted by Sue Neiers <ul><li>Which element(s) are missing? </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>
    9. 9. Submitted by Jon Christopherson When rescheduling a meeting in Lotus Notes, I have to drag a slider along with me. If I forget to bring the slider, I have to go back to the original meeting time and get the slider. It’s really difficult to drag it if I have to move the meeting more than a couple days forward. <ul><li>Which element(s) are missing? </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>
    10. 10. What’s Wrong with These Pictures? <ul><li>Which element(s) are missing? </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>
    11. 11. What’s Wrong with These Pictures? <ul><li>Which element(s) are missing? </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>Which element(s) are missing? </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>
    13. 13. How about some good examples? Google Sketchup Submitted by Bryan Christensen <ul><li>What’s good about this product? </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>
    14. 14. How about some good examples? <ul><li>What’s good about this product? </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>
    15. 15. How about some good examples? <ul><li>What’s good about this product? </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>
    16. 16. Why is Usability Important? <ul><li>Usability is necessary to survive. </li></ul><ul><li>If it’s difficult to use, people leave . </li></ul><ul><li>If users get lost, they leave . </li></ul><ul><li>If it’s hard to read or doesn't answer users' key questions, they leave . </li></ul><ul><li>If users cannot find the product, they cannot buy it. </li></ul><ul><li>If users don’t know how to buy the product, they cannot buy it. </li></ul><ul><li>If users cannot find the price of a product, they will not buy it. </li></ul>“ The joy of an early release lasts but a short time. The bitterness of an unusable system lasts for years.” - Anonymous
    17. 17. What is Usability NOT? <ul><li>Usability should NOT be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expensive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time consuming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A creativity killer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer satisfaction surveys </li></ul></ul>“ It is far better to adapt the technology to the user than to force the user to adapt to the technology.” - Larry Marine
    18. 18. How Much does Usability Cost? <ul><li>Cost: Best Practices say to spend 10% of project budget on usability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More than doubles a web site's desired quality metrics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Slightly less than doubles an intranet's quality metrics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Benefits : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For internal users ,think about: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cutting training budgets in half (or more) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reducing bottlenecks by enabling more non-specialized personnel to perform duties </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For external users, think about: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Doubling (or more) the number of registered users </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Doubling (or more) number of products ordered </li></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 19. When to Start Usability? <ul><li>The earlier the better </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Before you’ve defined the requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Before you begin the design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Before you write the code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Before you begin the mission </li></ul></ul>“ You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledge hammer on the construction site.” - Frank Lloyd Wright
    20. 20. How do you do Usability? <ul><li>Before starting the new design, test the old design. </li></ul><ul><li>Test your competitors' designs. </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct a field study to see how users behave in their natural habitat. </li></ul><ul><li>Make quick prototypes of one or more new design ideas and test them. </li></ul><ul><li>Refine the design ideas that test best through multiple iterations. </li></ul><ul><li>Inspect the design relative to established usability guidelines. </li></ul><ul><li>Once you decide on and implement the final design , test it again. </li></ul>“ It's better to design the user experience than rectify it. It's the difference between a cathedral and the Winchester House.” - Jon Meads
    21. 21. Food for thought … <ul><li>“ Questions about whether design is necessary or affordable are quite beside the point: design is inevitable. The alternative to good design is bad design, not no design at all. </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone makes design decisions all the time without realizing it­-like Moliere's M. Jourdain who discovered he had been speaking prose all his life­-and good design is simply the result of making these decisions consciously, at the right stage, and in consultation with others as the need arise.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Douglas Martin (Book Design) </li></ul></ul>“ Coding is long. Design is short. Paper is cheap.” - Anonymous
    22. 22. Recommended Reading <ul><li>Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug </li></ul><ul><li>Essay #46: “Why software sucks (And what to do about it)” by Scott Berkun </li></ul><ul><li>Designing from Both Sides of the Screen by Ellen Isaacs and Alan Walendowski </li></ul><ul><li>Institutionalization of Usability by Eric Schaffer </li></ul><ul><li>And just about anything Jakob Nielsen writes! </li></ul><ul><li>“ If there's a 'trick' to it, the UI is broken.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Douglas Anderson </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Recommended Training <ul><li>Human Factors International offers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Excellent training courses in many locations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Certification program for usability analysts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online community for certified usability analysts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>My favorite courses were: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The science and art of effective web and application design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User-centered analysis and conceptual design </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Points to remember <ul><li>Usability is a measure of quality </li></ul><ul><li>Remember Law #1: Don’t make me think </li></ul><ul><li>Users scan and click </li></ul><ul><li>UN-usability means users won’t use it </li></ul><ul><li>Usability increases productivity and use, saving both time and money </li></ul><ul><li>Usability costs about 10% of budget </li></ul><ul><li>Start usability before design </li></ul><ul><li>Design for user tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Usability test early and often! </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>“ If the user can't use it, it doesn't work.” - Susan Dray