Usability of Usability

20 Mar 2011 - 10:49pm
3 years ago
2 replies
1159 reads
C K Vijay Bhaskar
2009

Usability is an important aspect to be looked at for making any system achieve its ROI and to give its users an ‘experience’ that will help foster a better culture in the organization. As the ultimate target of any system is to establish change management and to promote organizational innovation via modifying the behaviour or culture of the people in the organization, it becomes imperative that aspects of usability are engrained into the goals and processes of the organization. 

The current scenario in most organizations is not very encouraging when it comes to its stand on Usability or those who profess usability.  It is still a challenge to ‘sell’ usability and establish the ROI or the business value that usability brings. Unlike many process frameworks like ITIL or CMMI and standards like ISO – which has a perceived market value (till implemented successfully) and is a criteria for being eligible for being qualified as a service provider, usability is yet to be recognized as a mandatory ‘visible’ eligible criteria. 

Usability still figures out as a ‘non-functional’ requirement in many definitions and is not considered as a mainstream activity for many development and support processes. 

So, where do you think is the gap in usability that prevents the cognition of its importance as a factor to drive ROI?

The intent of raising this question is to understand usability and recognize how, what, why - factors of usability are an impediment to its success. 

Comments

21 Mar 2011 - 2:53am
holger_maassen
2010

My exceprience is that in quite a lot of companies and organizations, either large or small, usability is not part of their way of ...

  • thinking
  • development

and

  • how the "world" move

... because in each level of management you will find people and especiallly in the upper levels - they haves no clue ...

  • what usability is
  • Why should they care about it
  • and most important they have no idea how to implement it in THEIR process flow.

 Usability is not typically part of THEIR business world, traditional business administration or technology training.

Furthermore technology leaders and senior managers are not compensated for usability or user satisfaction of the applications they build.

They are only compensated for how well they complete projects on-time, on-budget and on-target to requirements and specifications. 

At mid-sized and small companies and organizations this impact is even greater and they are more open-minded.

What I do is ...

The first step is to review the key benefits of focusing on usability. 

  • higher revenues
  • loyal customers
  • improved brand value
  • process improvement

Then I am waiting for the technology leaders' and business managers' NOs - and then I deal with their NOs - What are their reason for not needing it.  

However, this article might be interesting for the one or two perhaps ...

http://ux4dotcom.blogspot.com/2009/07/significance-of-ucd-ia-and-ue-user.html

And now I am looing forward to read other ideas and solutions.

26 Mar 2011 - 12:56am
C K Vijay Bhaskar
2009

Thanks Massen, for your response. 

Looks like this topic is not a very popular one when it comes to 'working' on UI versus 'planning' for UI.

I am seeing a trend where there is a lot of Just In Time kind of works instead of planning ahead. In times like these, there is a lot of trial and error and a lot of effort is wasted in the process. The only way the loss can be minimized is when there is a system of introducing delebrate mistakes and learn from it or ensure that he mistakes are minimal.

I also see that there is little objective planning in sustaining Usability as a system. It is, I believe currently looked at from the perspecive of being part of a design job rather than being a mainstream activity. 

With so much of change that is happening in the needs of various stakeholders, it is imperative that the change be managed in a properway and the only way I believe is by doing things from the perspective of Usability as this is a much larger umbrella than 'design' or planning. All these should come under usability for better management - that is the only way one can make usability 'usable'.

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