The ISO definition states that effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction are there criteria’s for usability. So how do we collect it for a usability test. The items are listed below.
- Percent of tasks completed
- Ratio of successes to failures
- Number of features or commands used
- Time to complete a task
- Time to learn
- Time spent on errors
- Percent or number of errors
- Frequency of help or documentation use
- Number of repetition or failed commands
- Rating scale for usefulness of the product or service
- Rating scale for satisfaction with functions and features
- Number of times user expresses frustration or anger
- Rating scale for user versus technological control of task
- Perception that the technology supports tasks as needed by the user
Articles on usability metrics
I was doing a small research on return on investment for usability. As a result i came across an interesting article on value proposition of usability in UPA (Usability Professionals Association). I have collated these and listed them below,
- Value proposition: High return on savings and product usability
- Value proposition: Save development costs
- Value proposition: Save development time
- Value proposition: Reduce maintenance costs
- Value proposition: Save redesign costs
- Value proposition: Increase transactions/purchases
- Value proposition: Increase product sales
- Value proposition: Increase traffic (size of audience)
- Value proposition: Retain customers (frequency of use)
- Value proposition: Attract more customers (increase appeal)
- Value Proposition: Increase market share (competitive edge)
- Value proposition: Increase success rate, reduce user error
- Value Proposition: Increase efficiency/productivity (reduce time to complete task)
- Value Proposition: Increase user satisfaction
- Value Proposition: Increase job satisfaction/decrease job turnover
- Value Proposition: Increase ease of use
- Value Proposition: Increase ease of learning
- Value Proposition: Increase trust in systems
- Value Proposition: Decrease support costs
- Value Proposition: Reduce training/documentation cost
More articles on ROI for usability,
Competitive Analysis is an interesting topic. What can we learn from our competitors - How to do things? How many things to do? What not to do?. the List could be long. As competitive websites and application provide us with alternatives to our design. Lets try and explore what are the things to include in a competitive report.
- Task analysis – what are the tasks available, how are they completed
- Features available
- User Interface strengths and weaknesses
- Layouts and standards used
- Any user metrics if available
Competitive report should be aimed at providing smart hints as to what to include and what not to include as features. In case of brand new applications a competitive report provides useful insight into design itself.
User Experience – Competitive Analysis Links,
With limited resource and large application it might be difficult to Thoroughly test an application. This brings us to the topic of the post. How do we prioritize tasks that need to be included in a usability test.
- Frequency – Tasks most commonly completed
- Criticality – Tasks critical for the application success
- ROI Importance – Tasks important for the success of strategy (Stakeholders)
- Uncertainity – tasks that require clarity
- Actionable – where changes can be done based on user feedback
User Experience Treasure map by Peter Morville
Implementation of standards for accessibility have gained momentum in the previous decade. Section 508 seems to have finally reached the door step of developers, strategy and product management. I remember an era where colors were often the lone indicators in a interface making life difficult for color blind users, at other times we had images without alts – making it difficult for users with screen readers. Today development software’s come pre-configured to include alt messages to images and designers are well ware of providing a shape hint besides just color in interfaces as hints.
The ones i have mentioned above are only small changes. The big change that has occurred is shifting from layouts that were table based to DIV based. The HTML standards have matured significantly both in terms of the interface standards and technically. Earlier tables used to provide more than just tabular data and was used by designers to create layouts making information inaccessible to screen readers.
Past few days i have been spending a little time with accessibility and hope to blog more often about the subject. Here are a few standard checklist you can adopt for your project if you already dont have one,
These are just a few. You could go on searching and find loads of them online.
I have worked with different content management systems during my career. A common bane has been the usability – especially the ‘system model’ that comes in way of effectively and easily learning the system. I wonder the reason behind this?
I have recently tried out at least a dozen open source content management systems to try creating a simple website with the ability to have a user management system. The systems fall short of being learn able and efficient at the same time. The exception among these is word press. but that doesn’t not completely fulfill my requirement.
What could be the reasons for lack of usability in CMS,
- Developed without the end user in mind – Developers are either unaware of using UCD as a process for development or look at it as an expensive exercise.
- Information architecture doesn’t map to the users mental model
- Created to be technically efficient systems
- Built for the technical users – users aware of the functionality and terminology
- Too late in the game – Often systems are built and its way too late to change things in favor of usable ones
How could user experience professionals help the opensource world,
- help with expert reviews
- share usability best practices and guidelines
- help with usability testing and user feedback sessions