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About Usability

‘Usability’ (or Human-Computer Interaction) is a well known concept in Human Factors, which refers to how easy a product is to learn and use by its user population.

ISO 9241-11 defines it as follows: “The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with 'effectiveness', 'efficiency', and 'satisfaction' in a specified context of use.”

  • Effectiveness relates to how well users can complete tasks and achieve goals with the product. Further dimensions include learnability (how easy a system is to learn?) and memorability (if the user returns to a system, how easily can he or she remember how to use it?)
  • Efficiency relates to how much effort is required by users to complete tasks (often measured in time)
  • Satisfaction concerns what users think of the product’s ease of use

The approach through which usability is integrated throughout product development is termed User-Centred Design or Usability Engineering.



A diagram illustrating the benefits of usability for the business, design team, documentation team, user population, project management and support team