Software Usability Abstract

There are a few useful notes on software usability / Human Computer Interaction (HCI), written on hallway the whiteboards in the Century Link St. Louis office that I feel provide a good summary of the topic. These reminded me of the HCI class I took with Bill White.

“To Design is to plan, to order, to relate, and to control. In short, it opposes all means of disorder and accident” – Emil Ruder
Elements of User Centered Design

Elements of User Centered Design

  • P: Personas
  • UA: User Analytics
  • UT: Usability Testing
  • CI: Contextual Inquiry (Context by user)
  • ID: Interactive Design
  • HE: Heuristic Analysis (Best Practice Review)
  • PT: Prototype Testing
  • CA: Competitive Analysis
  • IA: Information Architecture
  • VD: Visual Design

Usability: The effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with with specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments.

10 Usability Best Practices (1-3)
10 Usability Best Practices (4-7)
10 Usability Best Practices (8-10)

10 Usability Best Practices

  1. Visibility of System Status: Give users appropriate feedback about what is going on.
  2. User Control and Freedom: Support undo, redo and exit points to help users leave an unwanted state caused by mistakes.
  3. Aesthetic And Minimalist Design: Don’t show irrelevant or rarely needed information since every extra element diminishes the relevance of the others.
  4. Flexibility and Efficiency of Use: Make the system efficient for different experience levels through shortcuts, advanced tools and frequent actions.
  5. Help and Documentation: Make necessary help and documentation easy to find and search focused.
  6. Match Between System and the Real World: Use real world words, concepts and conventions familiar to the users in a natural and logical order.
  7. Error Prevention: Prevent problems from occurring: eliminate error prone conditions or check for them before users commit to action.
  8. Consistency and Standards: Follow platform conventions through consistent words, situations and actions.
  9. Recognition Rather than Recall: Make objects, actions, and options visible at the appropriate time to minimize users memory load and facilitate decisions.
  10. Help Users Recognize, Diagnose, and Recover from Errors: Express error messages in plain language (no codes) to indicate the problem and suggest solutions.

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