Usability: a key factor in choosing software for a computer system is the software’s usability. Usability of a new human-technology interface needs to be evaluated early and often throughout its development.
- based on “user-centric” design that incorporates the interaction of the human user from the start of the design process
- the success (or failure) of the design is based upon measurements sucha s focus groups, interviews, or questionnaires with the targeted potential users of the software
- usability vs utility:
- the software must be able to collect the proper inputs and perform its primary designed function in addition to having the best possible human interface (in terms of usability)
- once the software is installed, the targeted users should also test it for usability
- factors contribute to software usability:
- Learnability is the amount of time it takes to learn and figure out how to use the software program. This can be enhanced by the program’s help features, documentation, and interface design.
- Memorability (efficiency): the amount of time it takes the user to perform tasks without having to stop and look up the instructions or use the help feature. Software that has been intuitively designed will enhance memorability
- Discovery: the time it takes a user to find specific product features in response to the need for that particular feature. this may be enhanced by the similarity of a software product to one that was previously used.
Usability deals with specific issues of human performance during computer interactions of specific tasks within a particular context. Usability issues address the effectiveness and efficiency of an applications, and satisfaction from end users.