Usability in Practice - Useful, Usable and Desirable: Usability as a Core Development Competence
|Figure 2 Characteristics of the E3T Elements|
|Engagement||Is the visual design appealing? Do people find the product attractive and interesting? Is there a "wow" factor?|
|Empowerment||Does the product make the person feel smart and competent? Does the tool make the person feel more powerful?|
|Ease of Use||How much effort does it take to learn and use the product? Is it flexible and supple and does it allow people to use it the way they want to?|
|Trust||Is the product accurate? Is it reliable and predictable? If it makes recommendations, do people feel they are in their best interests?|
- Look for examples of poor usability in everyday life. Road signs and airports are rife with them. Instructions that make no sense, a latch you can't figure out how to undo, confusing menus on your cell phone are all everyday examples of poor usability. Once you start looking you will be amazed at how much you are inconvenienced by poor design and how much time and energy it wastes. As you identify usability problems think of solutions—how could the design be improved.
- Also look for examples of usability issues and improvements on the software tools you use every day.
- Watch non-technical people using computers or cell phones. Your relatives may offer a fertile population to observe. Don't just correct them or show them how to do something but try to understand their misconceptions. Again, think about how you could support them through better design.
- Observe interactive products like cell phones and websites, from a user perspective. Note the design problems and think about how to solve them.