The Motive Web Design Glossary
Usability is a measure of the quality of a person’s experience in interacting with content or services.
Initially a discipline focused on computer software development, usability also relates to website design and is evaluated in terms of:
- Ease of learning
- How fast can a user who has never seen the user interface before learn it sufficiently well to accomplish basic tasks?
- Efficiency of use
Once an experienced user has learned to use the system, how fast can he or she accomplish tasks?
If a user has used the system before, can he or she remember enough to use it effectively the next time or does the user have to start over again learning everything?
- Error frequency and severity
How often do users make errors while using the system, how serious are these errors, and how do users recover from these errors?
- Subjective satisfaction
How much does the user like using the system?
Source: Usability basics (usability.gov)
In the context of website design, the quality of the user experience is typically discussed in terms of:
(web) accessibility, GUI, information foraging, interface, perceived affordance.
References and further reading
- Corporate Usability Maturity [Lifecycle] (Jacob Nielsen, useit.com)
…organizations typically progress through the same sequence of stages, from initial hostility to widespread reliance on user research.
- Design with Intent: Using Design to Influence Behaviour (Dan Lockton)
Drawing on a number of fields including architecture and urban planning to describe and detail design patterns for influencing user behaviour.
- Dogmas are meant to be broken (Liz Danzico, Boxes-and-Arrows)
An Interview with Eric Reiss, technical writer and user-experience designer, who takes a Dogma ’95-style approach to website usability: a 10-point focus on removing common website obstructions.
- Eight problems that haven’t changed (Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger, Webmonkey)
Excerpt from the book Prioritizing Web Usability.
- A hierarchy of complexity (Bill Moggridge, Usability News)
Considering the disciplines that usability draws upon: anthropometrics, physiology, cognitive psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, and ecology.
- Research-based web design and usability guidelines (usability.gov)
- Usability 101: Introduction to Usability (Jakob Nielsen, useit.com)
How to define usability? How, when, and where can you improve it? Why should you care?
A project to promote usability and user-centered design. Includes background information along with development and testing methods.
- What is usability? (Donna Maurer, Step Two Designs)
An overview of what usability is and is not. Ideas on how to include usability activities in projects, and the types of activities needed to create more usable systems.
Motive Web Design Glossary Trivia