Archive for August, 2007

barriers to usability

August 22, 2007

Just read a great article, Ten ways to kill good design, which is well worth a look.

It is really important to explain the benefits of usability and steps involved very clearly. I think that for some organisations that take on board the concept of usability there is still a lack of understanding of what it is. I have often heard Usability referred to as making something ‘easy to use’, although this is true it doesn’t allow for a fuller understanding of what it is or the steps involved.

When I have come into a project that has already commenced (already a bit too late) I find myself having to redefine or educate people about what usability actually is as they speak about making it easy to use and what they think is easy to use. This can be a dangerous place to be as personal preferences and opinions have already been accepted as part of the design from people that are too close to the product and have a deep understanding of how it should work.

The customer, however, doesn’t usually have the same understanding when they first use a product.

Business reps that see usability as making something easy to use or being about what people do and don’t like can cause problems as their lack of understanding will influence the timescales given to and at what stage the ‘easy to use’ bit is scheduled in the project plan; usually far later than is beneficial.