Usability vs ux design


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Some considerations about usability

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Usability vs ux design

  1. 1. on usability… Usability vs UX Design Usability and UX Design are very often neglected, too often pages are designed by programmers and the results are there to be seen. If you jump in the middle of a project and find such a situations a possible approach is “Let us work on usability immediately and begin something about UX Design when we do have time and resources”. The usual reactions are skeptical faces and somebody comes out with “Usability does not exist anymore, has been killed by UX Design. I've read this in many articles and web sites”. This concept is published in many articles but it is simply WRONG! One of the most fascinating approach uses the metaphor of getting on top of a mountain. It says that usability is go via the more easy track and UX is using a the more difficult one. In one case I go on top on the fast and safe way, on the other is much more difficult, but I have fun using my skills and have wonderful views of the mountain. This is a wrong way of looking at the problem! In reality which way to choose is in both cases a problem of UX (User’s Experience). We must start from needs and constraints: if I’m not a climber the direct way cannot even be taken in consideration or if I want to go on top to make maintenance to a radio repeater again the most fast and easy way, the normal track, will be the most reasonable choice. On the other side if I am a mountain guide and have some climbers customers I will reasonably choose the most beautiful, but difficult, track. Once I've chosen which track to follow (which User eXxperience) usability may  December 9th, 2013 v 1.0 ­ page 1 of 3
  2. 2. on usability… be applied and must be applied to each one of the tracks! In the metaphor we are using one face of usability is, as an example, the choice of the most suitable tools. When I was young I was a climber: we had one type of karabiner, was simple and sometimes too easy to be accidentally opened. Nowaday there are several options and security has been greatly improved. Amelioration of tools can be applied to all the type of sport activities. You may choose better tools even if you go up via the normal and more easy track, ie you may improve usability usability! Once alpenstocks where long wood sticks, nowaday we use much more modern and light aluminium one. The bottom line is that it is NOT true that UX Design killed Usability, they are two different activities to be performed in two different phases of the project: they may influence each other deeply. UX without usability takes to very poor page design. To use another metaphor we could say that when we build an house UX is deciding the structure, the functions and the relative positions and dimensions of different rooms and elements, Usability is good interior design. Both are needed, both are very important for the success of the project and they influence each other deeply. Interior design starts, among the other factors, from some indication of usage (UX) decisions coming from the structure definition. An hospital and a villa do have very different structure and requirement, but they both  December 9th, 2013 v 1.0 ­ page 2 of 3
  3. 3. on usability… need proper interior design. To summarize: ● User eXperience Design (UX Design) are not alternative, they are complementary ● UX Design is giving to the customer the most delightful experience: from the user’s point of view it answers to the question “Do I WANT to use IT” ● Usability makes possible for the customer to reach their goals: it answers to the question “Can I easily use it?) ● In a system UX Design could have been done informally or as an heritage from the previous practices, is not a good idea, but is not a tragedy. ● Usability MUST be done anyway ready to review it after UX Design has been approached.  December 9th, 2013 v 1.0 ­ page 3 of 3