Usability is the ease with which people can use a particular tool or any other human-made object in order to achieve a specific goal.
We say a system is usable when it has most (or all) these characteristics
- Respects Accessibility
- Has Cause and Effect
- Has Clarity
- Is Compatible
- Has Consistency
- Is Controllable
- Follows Conventions
- Allows for Drill Down
- Is Easy to Learn
- Is Efficient
- Creates Engagement
- Has Error Clarity
- Communicates Error Magnitude
- Is Error Tolerant
- Has Functionality
- Is Human Friendly
- Has Information Density
- Is Informative
- Has Navigability
- Is Pleasing
- Has Stability
- Provides Value for Effort
Rules for an usable system
- Allow customizable controls, including keyboard shortcuts.
- Avoid interruptions whenever possible – e.g. forced logins/pop-ups.
- Be aware of in-app browsers and limitations (e.g. scrolling) in mobile design.
- Consider server capabilities in terms of page load time and downtime.
- Conduct thorough usability testing
- Make forms easy to fill out.
- Make links active.
- Mimic the real world in terms of concepts, symbols, and language.
- Provide help documentation that is easy to understand.
- Present immediately understandable, jargon-free messages and actions users can take – one main action per screen.
- Provide a back button to undo actions.
- Show clear contact options.
- Use chunking and emphasize key information at the beginning and end of interactive sequences.
- Use proper font size, color, contrast, white space, etc.
- Use user personas.
- Work with a clear understanding of user goals and show this in your design.
You can find additional info on how to measure usability here
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