in Design

How To Navigate Usability Evaluation


Usability Evaluation aims to asses how well users are able to learn and use a product in order to achieve their goals. It also encompasses the level of satisfaction that the user amasses from the entire process. The primary source of information for usability evaluation comes from user feedback about an existing product or about plans for a future product.

There are a number of factors that make up what we call ‘usability’, it is not a one-dimensional concept. Amongst the factors that go into the assessment of usability are: intuitive design, ease of learning, efficiency of use, memorability, error frequency and severity as well as subjective satisfaction.

As far as intuitive design and ease of learning are concerned, they can be best assessed by the feedback received from first-time users on your website. Having an intuitive design means that your users are able to find their way seamlessly around your website and having a high ease of learning rate means that they will be able to accomplish basic tasks within your website at reasonable speed.

Memorability is something with which website developers and designers are tasked in each and every one of their projects. It is clear that how enjoyable your website is directly influences the rate of return for your visitors.

Also, the ability to attract and maintain a steady flow of visitors to your website greatly depends on the frequency and severity of your errors. If your website is in the habit of crashing every few hours and staying down for long stretches at a time, you can be sure that most people will choose not to return to it.

Moreover, if you will have some degree of control over the efficiency of use of your website, which basically means that you have the ability to influence how easily it is for an experienced users to get complex tasks done, it’s pretty much a toss up when it comes to subjective satisfaction. It can happen at times that you do your level best in order to satisfy all of the usability evaluation criteria and still receive negative feedback from your users.

In order to achieve as high a usability degree as possible you should focus on developing your websites using user-centered design. The way user-centered design works is pretty self-explanatory, your entire design process must shift from the more popular product-driven paradigm and pay more attention to the needs of the final users. In most work paradigms used presently a User Acceptance Test Phase comes in somewhere very far down the project’s lifeline. Due to this fact it is a common occurrence for end users to not take kindly to the new system they are faced with or, as is the case in web development, the finished website to respect the owner’s wishes to a T but attract no users.

This is the Process Map for a User-Centered Design paradigm. Depending on the type of website you are developing, the requirements, team and timeline you have to respect, the tasks you perform and the order in which you perform them may be different for each project. Even if you think that User-Centered development is not the way to go for your current projects, give it some thought for your future ones, the process may yield fine results for you.




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