Usability Is Not a Goal

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More Information: http://stevenpautz.com/portfolio/presentations/usability-as-an-attribute/

More Information: http://stevenpautz.com/portfolio/presentations/usability-as-an-attribute/

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  • 1. Usability is Not a Goal It’s a result. HCI Graduate Student Organization Iowa State University November 2, 2005 Steven Pautz
  • 2. ““Usability is Not a Goal » Overview ““Usability is Not a Goal Usability is not a goal: it’s a result. A desirable outcome. Usability by itself isn’t enough—we need a balance of many different things: Usability, Usefulness, Aesthetics, etc. The way to this balance is good design, which requires a good design process.
  • 3. ““Usability is Not a Goal » About Usability Usability Is ““What Usability is an attribute; a measure of quality. There are many definitions of usability, and many associated attributes: Effectiveness  Intuitiveness /  Efficiency Intuitability  Satisfaction  Learnability  Desirability /  Memorability  Likability  User Frustration  and many more...
  • 4. ““Usability is Not a Goal » About Usability ““Knowing Isn’t Enough Simply knowing about usability isn’t much use, though: We need to create usable systems. This is easier said than done, though...
  • 5. ““Usability is Not a Goal » About Usability Usability Is Not ““What Usability is a necessity, but it’s not a magic cure-all. There are many other important and desirable traits: Functionality Accessibility   Stability Development Cost   Performance Marketability   Aesthetics and so on...   If we only focus on one specific trait, the others will suffer.
  • 6. ““Usability is Not a Goal » The Goal Should We Aim For? ““What These traits are all interrelated: Changes in one will affect the others. Aiming for usability alone is reckless; we must somehow aim for everything.
  • 7. ““Usability is Not a Goal » The Goal Should We Aim For? ““What These traits are all interrelated: Changes in one will affect the others. Aiming for usability alone is reckless; we must somehow aim for everything. Rather than aim for a desirable trait, we should aim for a process which will yield many desirable traits.
  • 8. ““Usability is Not a Goal » The Goal ““Aim for a Design Process “Where do you spend time: Getting the “design right, or getting the right design?” ~Bill Buxton By formulating the right design early on, we can avoid surprises at the end. Design processes ensure that:  We come up with the right design  That design actually gets created
  • 9. ““Usability is Not a Goal » The Goal ““A Review Thus Far  There are many desirable attributes; usability is important, but it’s not alone.  We want to create systems which get high marks in all desirable attributes.  Aiming for attributes doesn’t help us, though, as they’re only outcomes.  So, instead of aiming for an outcome, we aim for a design process which will yield those outcomes.  Next up: Anatomy of a design process.
  • 10. ““Usability is Not a Goal » Design Process Overview ““Design Processes at a Glance Good, balanced design is not easy. A good design process is a structured methodology, a plan of attack. It ensures we address—and achieve— all of the desired results. It helps us avoid opinion, speculation, and other “common sense” pitfalls.
  • 11. ““Usability is Not a Goal » Design Process Overview Methodology” ““Structured “Structured” doesn’t necessarily mean rigid or formal—it just means we don’t wander aimlessly. There are dozens of different approaches and methodologies for design, all with different requirements and strengths. The purpose is always the same: ensure the final result comes out right.
  • 12. ““Usability is Not a Goal » Design Process Overview ““Common Pitfalls Speculation—even informed speculation— can lead to poor decisions. Opinions can blind us to the true cause behind success or failure, or prevent us from recognizing success/failure at all. Mismatched mindsets, such as applying an engineering mentality to a design problem, fail to solve the problem. These can be minimized with a data-driven design process.
  • 13. ““Usability is Not a Goal » Sample Design Process ““An Sample Design Process 1 Get to know your users. Determine their needs, goals, and desires. 2 Brainstorm several high-level designs to meet those needs, goals, and desires. 3 Evaluate the competing designs, and select the best one. 4 Implement the design. Test along the way. Add low-level details as needed. 5 Evaluate the final implementation. Ensure we built what we aimed to build.
  • 14. ““Usability is Not a Goal » Sample Design Process ““A Good Start… That process is far from ideal, but it’s quick and easy. A few good practices:  Talk directly to users; don’t guess or speculate about what they might want.  Focus on “high-level” design first.  Consider several alternative designs.  Test, test, test. Then test some more.
  • 15. ““Usability is Not a Goal » Sample Design Process ““…But Room for Improvement That process is quick and easy, but it’s far from ideal. A few dangers:  Opinion and speculation can still interfere with the process.  This may yield decent usability, but it neglects several other factors.  The designer must ensure that appropriate HCI and design techniques are used.
  • 16. ““Usability is Not a Goal » The Purpose of Design Design” ““High-Level HCI and design are about interaction, not interfaces. Interaction is about activities and user experience. We should design the higher-level activities and experience first, then design the interaction, then design the interface.
  • 17. ““Usability is Not a Goal » Overview ““Usability is Not a Goal Usability is not a goal: it’s a result. A desirable outcome. Usability by itself isn’t enough—we need a balance of many different things: Usability, Usefulness, Aesthetics, etc. The way to this balance is good design, which requires a good design process.