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A concise definition of Website Usability?


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#1 manager

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 06:02 PM

Hello,

Would some be kind enough to point me to a concise definition of “web site usability”
I was hoping for less than 25 words. :)

Thanks,
TreV

#2 Respree

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 06:15 PM

Here's what some folks think usability means.

#3 manager

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 06:59 PM

Thanks for that Garrick :) ,
I'm, interested in Website Usuability in particular. I did a definition search in Google and this was the sole entry:

Website Usability Usability is a multidimensional attribute that relates to the impact a product has on its end-users. In general it refers to the efficiency with which a customer can do their tasks with the product, and their overall satisfaction with that process. Usability should be considered from a systems perspective including the hardware and software interfaces, the documentation, packaging, and any other component of the system and processes surrounding it that affects the user. Usability is a key design and marketing concept meaning the extent to which a product is safe, comfortable, effective, and efficient. Usability can be measured objectively via performance errors (low error = high usability) and productivity (high speed and quantity output = high usability). Usability can also be measured subjectively via user preferences (likes and dislikes) and interface characteristics (adherence to layout standards).


TreV

#4 cre8pc

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 08:18 PM

We had some fun with this, after John Rhodes asked "What is Usability in One Word?"


It turned into a fun thread. I've long ago come to accept that usability industry folks can't agree on the definition. It's too much like a salad, with new ingredients being added all the time, to help improve the final presentation.

See What is Usability in One Word?

If we blasted "usability" into oblivion so that it could never be used again, what word or short phrase would replace it?

The Usual Suspects:

1. user experience
2. customer experience
3. human-computer interaction
4. human factors
5. ergonmics
6. user friendly
7. easy-to-use
8. user-centered design

These aren't too bad really. But the more I think about it, and the more I talk about it, I think usability is best summed up with this word:

--> EMPATHY <--

No word better describes the intent of usability.

(OK, so it isn't perfect, but what word is better? What do you think?)



#5 manager

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 05:21 AM

Hi cre8pc,

You can’t get more concise than “one word”, but alas I’m after a sentence. :)

Since it’s possible to clearly, and concisely define marketing in a sentence, you’d think “websites usability” would be easy. Kim; your 25 word definition of website usability would be useful, given your obvious passion, and expertise in the subject.

TreV

#6 cre8pc

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 10:21 AM

Can I use the word "salad" in it? LOL

Lemme think on it...and try to come up with something useful.

Pun intended.

#7 manager

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 11:11 AM

No pressure Kim!
If anyone else has one, please post it up.
BTW I'm not asking for this; so I can dissect, analyse, and criticize people's definitions on this forum. :)
TreV

#8 cre8pc

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 09:48 AM

I've had this on my To Do list for ages...finding a one word, or any word definintion of usability.

To my delight, here is

What term do you use for ‘user experience’?

The number one answer is "usability".

But, you should see The LIST! :)

#9 Ruud

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 11:33 AM

"The intuitive, almost child-like ease to accomplish anything on your site achieved through utter, transparent clarity of options and actions"

#10 cre8pc

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 11:52 AM

"The intuitive, almost child-like ease to accomplish anything on your site achieved through utter, transparent clarity of options and actions"


Why do I keep wanting to say, "The unbearable lightness of being." :D ???

Ruud, have we taken usability to a new dimension? :hypnotize2:

#11 DCrx

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:25 PM

Usability can be defined as "the decrease of cognitive friction users experience in task completion relative to 1) the previous version or model 2) competitor offerings 3)user goals"

This accounts for basic usability. Recently I've seen the same attempt to make usability and customer experience synonymous. Making the site easier to use could still cause a problem if competitor sites are substantially more usable.

Edited by DCrx, 15 September 2006 - 12:28 PM.


#12 Ruud

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:30 PM

One of, if not the best book title ever.

Ruud, have we taken usability to a new dimension?


I believe the guild's Litmus test for that is when your setup manages to explain "about:blank" without drawing a blank stare....

#13 yannis

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:12 PM

A measure of how easy it is for a typical group of users to complete a task from a given Web site.

Yannis

#14 lee.n3o

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:53 PM

My opinion for what its worth...

"A measure of how easy it is for any user to complete a task on your website, whether it be order a product or navigate to a specific area without hinderence or having to understand specific web jargon"

Haven't delved to much into his sight, but jeff veen is quite a master of usuability... have a read through his site.. might find something useful

http://www.veen.com/jeff/index.html

Edited by lee.n3o, 15 September 2006 - 01:54 PM.


#15 rmccarley

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 02:09 PM

How 'bout...?

Web Site Usability

1. Design that creates an equal experience for all viewers supporting them to make appropriate actions intuitively.

2. Web design that get's the design out of the user's way.

To me Usability is like framing a picture. If done right, people look past the frame and clearly see the picture. If done wrong, people say "what a nice frame".

#16 Afshan

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 06:16 AM

You guys haven't mentioned that usability also means innovation in todays age. Gone are those days where we need to make interfaces effective and efficient. If we don't start innovating, god help us. Competitors are taking over, baby! :spambuster:

#17 cre8pc

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 09:30 AM

Competitors are taking over, baby!


They do, when websites and Internet applications aren't efficient and effective, which is a huge problem that still very much exists.

Competitors win when they produce persuasive, user centered designs, for example. There's a long way to go before developers understand and consistently build with a foundation in persuasive architecture.

Accessibility is another area that's slowly catching on. Competitors who build for the millions of people with disabilities and who are seeing impaired and need bigger text and better contrasts, are the winners. Innovation is fine, but the basics haven't been satisfied yet.

#18 kulpreet_singh

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 05:21 PM

Empathy Salad :)

#19 customerneeds

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 01:30 PM

Does accessiblity to the disabled apply to all target markets?

#20 cre8pc

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 01:37 PM

Does accessiblity to the disabled apply to all target markets?


If what is being marketed is being marketed on the Internet, yes :)

Accessibility standards, even the basics, help with people who are color blind (large portion of whom are men), sight impaired (glasses, contacts, blind), deaf, unable to use mouse due to injury or disease such as MS and even those who have a temporary condition that renders them unable to function with all abilities working, if only for a short time.

Not taking this into consideration limits who can access a site, purchase from it, register for it, book a room, read, etc. For those who can't drive or get around, the Internet is THE way they get what they want.

#21 AbleReach

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 01:46 PM

Also, consider that some of the adaptive technologies that boost accessibility for the disabled are text aware.

Spiders are text aware.

I don't see much of a difference between accessibility for spiders and accessibility for people. Access is access. Add usability in there and the info that is accessed makes more sense and is easier to use productively. Online, productive activity --> ROI.

#22 customerneeds

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 02:05 PM

Yes! I agree, the search engines are not able to know what your site is about if your site is not text browser friendly! I believe its absolutely pertinent when branding ones name on the internet to make sure it is not just an image.


Thanks AbleReach!

#23 customerneeds

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 02:46 PM

But should a website be accessible to all disabilities? For example, if a hotel is marketing to tourists that are focused on outdoor activities such as kayaking, biking, hiking, etc. This may market to many disabilities such as blind, hearing impaired, etc. However, maybe not someone that is physically limited.

What do you think?

#24 cre8pc

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 05:18 PM

Here's an example:

I live near the Delaware river that separates the state of NJ and PA, and there's a huge tubing business that sells "tubing down the river" rides in these gigantic black inner tubes. It's a huge thing around here, for all ages.

Say they have a website that promotes their tubing business. Even if someone comes to the site who can not actually go tubing for some reason related to disability, they may want to pay for someone who can.

It's about putting limits on a group of people who don't want those limits.

There are laws, in the UK and USA, as well, to consider, for online retail. In the USA, Section 508 applies. All .gov sites must be Section 508 compliant, and so must businesses who do business with the government online. Retail has to be aware that their physical business must meet laws for handicapped, and so do their websites. Not doing so raises lawsuits, like the one Target is experiencing right now.

If there is no legal reason to be accessible and no requirement to be indexed by search engines, and the target market is absolutely never going to be someone with any kind of reason to experience trouble with a website, then I say it comes down to choice.

But, consider someone like me, who is seeing impaired. No one would ever know it look at me, but I wear experimental bi-focal contacts and still need a "guide person" to help me with travel because I can't read signs in airports, for example. Even with the huge letters. I can walk, run, use a mouse, and hear, but small fonts on a website cause me to strain. I need to increase font sizes and often can't in MSIE, so I use Firefox as my browser because font changes work with that browser.

In other words, customers will use what they can get to work and it may be something small, but it's important to them. Customer satisfaction matters.

There are stats, likely available in searches, on the number of people around the world or in certain areas who are considered "disabled". That may help. And think about unique needs. Like someone who stutters is not disabled, but they are more likely to order online than by phone. Someone with cataracts problems or is color blind doesn't see colors normally. Aging can cause slow response. Arthritis is a huge problem, and if hands are effected, it makes typing or using a mouse painful.

Sure, they may not go wild water rafting, but they may like to read about it, or research it as a gift trip for someone, or whatever :)

#25 AbleReach

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 07:02 PM

OT - Just got an email about someone who takes blind people skiing.

It's hard to know what someone else *won't* be interested in. Maybe it's a little easier to guess about what people might be interested in, than to guess their disinterest. With exposure, you get stats with which to tune into possibilities.

and a p.s. - I have chronic pain problems and am not always especially mobile, but even on a bad day if there'd be a safe way to take me white water rafting or a host of other experiences, I'm your gal... though you might have to carry me to keep me happy. In real life I'm more likely to watch downhill skiing on TV.

#26 customerneeds

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 06:25 PM

Thanks Kim and AbleReach for all the insight on disabled accessiblity, it is very informative! :)



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