Usability measures how effective, efficient, flexible and satisfactory a product is. But these words are all abstract.
To put it into context, when usability is measured, it is testing whether or not the software or website is designed correctly for the intended purpose. For example, if you have an online shop, usability wants to check that your customers can easily access the purchase button. Since the purpose of your online shop is to allow customers to purchase products, if your customers are having difficulty finding the purchase button because of a poor user experience, your business is losing potential customers and sales.
You need a healthy user experience for a healthy business. There’s no point sitting on the fence because improving usability is part of an ongoing long term business commitment. You need to manage usability using facts and figures which will help you make decisions accordingly.
Usability is relative to various factors and is compared against different benchmarks. One is being relative to user’s performance against sets of goal directed tasks. For example, a user is able to buy an item from your online shop in a short time. This metric is measuring effectiveness of your website.
Another usability metric is conversion rates. For example measuring whether or not users are transitioning from the shopping basket to checkout. Usability metrics allow you to track the progress of a product, assess competitive products and make executive decisions accordingly.
Usability has a significant role in each phase of a product design lifecycle and that’s why its essential to have multiple usability studies in every step. A usability study before redesigning software will help you identify what to keep and improve and what to get rid of and fix. You can also focus on the competitive sites to learn what is particularly special about their user experience and if it might also be useful to the usability of your site.
A healthy user experience is part of an iterative design process, crucially starting at the early stages of the design process and maintaining testing throughout.
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