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Last week in Intro to User Experience Design, we learned about usability, user testing, and heuristics. Usability was broken down into 5 essential components: learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors and satisfaction. All of these components are essential in converting newbie users to regular users.
While it seems rather obvious that a simple-to-use, efficient, and overall elegant usability would be optimal, it isn’t so easy to conceive of creating such epitome of elegance from scratch. Additionally, while elegant usability is important for deterring user attrition, it may not work the way you think it will in practice, which is where testing comes into play… This is where you can watch how users interact with what you’ve created in order to assess whether it is being used in the way you envisioned it to be used. You can also test multiple versions at any stage of the design using A/B testing – comparing the usability of one version to another and going forward with implementing what you found to be most usable. Next up, we learned about 10 usability principles/heuristics and were asked to evaluate a couple of common websites to assess whether they complied with these principles. The following home page, for example, does not seem to comply with usability heuristic #8, in my novice opinion, of aesthetic and minimalist design. Instead, it appears as visual vomit – with each separate unit of information competing with the next. I’d certainly bounce!