After reading the article, you’ll:
Usability is metric, a number. What does it mean?
It means we should measure usability to know if it’s high or low. If we add or remove a feature, we should re-measure usability again.
What exactly should we measure?
According to Jacob Nielsen, usability industry’s prophet, there are 5 components to measure:
It’s a hell of measuring.
When you add a feature, you have to run multiple tests, some of them are time-consuming. Take memorability: how long are you prepared to wait before re-testing the feature?
Worse, if you create the whole new app or redesign an existing one.
Consider our recent redesign of Icons8:
It’s well-tested for usability. In particular, I’ve tested these tasks:
I find this aged. When I’ve shown it to the cool guys from Clay, they said it’s “pretty okay.” I credit them for being polite.
Here’s what we’ve come with:
This design is a vast improvement.
Should we run all the usability tests for this redesign, it will take 30 measurements not counting the collections. Collections will easily double that.
Let me provide a more straightforward set of metrics. I find it cheap, dirty, and good enough.
For me, usability is a set of three metrics. Let’s call it Sucers:
From these 3, you only have to test 2:
Here we go with our expanded definition.
Usability is a value. Usually, it’s a success rate for a given task.
Example: if 80% of users can buy a product, usability is 80%. Usually, it’s a high value.
It could be the number of errors that users made. How long did a user wander all over the website before successfully ordering her product?
Or, it could be the speed. In real life, I never use it. In part, because it’s much harder to measure. It requires many tests, and the results aren’t accurate.
It makes sense to invest the resources in eliminating the errors and adding some heuristics. To speed up:
Back to our example with our icons web app, we have to measure only two things:
All it takes are 10 measurements, down from 30.
For speed, we use the heuristics:
Call it a day.
How do you guys test your apps? Showing it to your wife counts as testing, as well as a formal testing lab equipped with a one-view mirror. Share your examples in the comments.
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