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Usability: The Answer To Bolstering The User Experience.

Usability: The Answer To Bolstering The User Experience.

04 September 2023

We'll get philosophical before we get into the nuts and bolts of usability.

Specifically, human behavior is inextricably linked to usability. More to the point, companies that throw themselves head first into enhancing usability grasp things like human emotions. They know people don’t want to put in tons of effort to use products and designs.

None of this is to say that humans are grossly lazy. We all work hard. This may be why people want (or, more accurately, demand) activities like using a website or getting a credit card to be seamless. Life's already challenging enough for designs that lack usability.

Defining Usability.

Through a more technical lens, usability assesses an interface’s ease of use. It also applies to methods that improve ease of use amid the design process.

These five quality components are used to define usability:

  1. Can users seamlessly complete a basic task when they encounter a design for the first time? (Learnability).
  2. How quickly can users execute tasks once they’ve learned the design? (Efficiency).
  3. How easily can users regain proficiency when they return to the design after not using it for a while? (Memorability).
  4. How often are errors made by users, and how severe are they? Are the errors easy to recover from? (Errors).
  5. How pleasant is the design to use? (Satisfaction).

To clarify, the five quality components of usability are Learnability, Efficiency, Memorability, Errors, and Satisfaction.

Utility’s Relationship With Usability.

Utility is another quality attribute–and one worthy of its own section. It speaks to functionality, asking questions about user needs.

Together, utility and usability dictate the usefulness of a design. While something might be easy to use, that means nothing if it’s not what’s wanted. Alternatively, an overly complex interface muddies the waters of a design that technically does what you want.

Here’s how to differentiate between usability and utility:

  • Utility focuses on the presence of needed features.
  • Usability focuses on the pleasantness and ease of the experience.
  • When utility and usability mesh, it makes your design useful.

The Value Of Usability.

Sketches of website

Difficult-to-use websites cause visitors to leave instantaneously. Homepages that don’t state a company’s offerings and what can be done on a site cause people to exit in droves.

Similarly, visitors run for the hills when lost on a website. A site with information that’s tough to read or doesn’t answer key questions won’t keep visitors’ attention either.

In short, users aren’t going to use websites that require legwork. They’ll simply go somewhere else if extra effort is needed.

A helpful, universal rule to guide your thought process on this matter is that customers won’t purchase products they can’t find.

As for intranets, usability impacts employee productivity. Companies waste money when users are lost due to complex instructions instead of doing work.

Experts suggest dedicating 10% of a design project’s budget to usability. On average, it’s believed that this will double a website’s quality metrics and almost double an intranet’s quality metrics.

Improving Usability.

Do you want to improve your website's usability? The process can be intensive, but has the deep-level expertise and sure-handed know-how to guide you. Get a free quote from us today!

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