Posted in Discussion Questions

Usability and You

The readings were mainly based on the 5Es of Usability. These are, Effective, Efficient, Engaging, Easy to Learn and Error Tolerant. The article by Whitney Quesenberry outlined the basics of these Es and how they all interact with usability of a software. Though the first four were intuitive, the last one was an interesting new concept. Error Tolerance is how the system responds to errors and how easy it makes navigating out of errors for the user. Just recently, I was using an application that was not very tolerant of errors and was therefore frustrating to use. However, when a page is error tolerant, I find myself using it much more frequently and expansively. Quesenberry also talked about the balance of these 5Es and how it varies depending on the page or website in question. This was a very helpful guide in how to use the concepts efficiently. Evaluating the usability of the product by having users engage with it was discussed and a cycle was shown to do this effectively. The last major point made by the Quesenberry article was how usability needs to be integrated constantly rather than right at the end, as that is the only seamless way to do it.

The next article was about some of the technical aspects of the 5Es and some specific considerations about usability in the Indian market. It also elaborated on ways of testing usability and how to calculate the costs of and benefits of it. Arun Ambie wrote about all the ways that usability can be carried out and the importance of carrying them out properly. The article also challenges the idea that this work needs to be done in a lab. The testing can be done anywhere, according to Ambie, as long as the responses and observations are recorded properly. The article also talks about the balance of the ways to ensure usability and adds in useful questions to gauge how we need to approach usability. This article offers more of a look into the various aspects of usability and how it can be carried out and evaluated. There was also a final note on the market for usability professionals in India, which gave us a look into how markets around the world view usability and how it should be more of a priority in this case.

Questions

  1. Do you feel the 5Es of usability are the main aspects we should consider? Are there any you would add or remove?
  2. If you were to design your ideal website, what would your balance of the 5Es be?
  3. The articles talked about evaluating usability and how users are needed for this step. How would you recruit and observe users to draw accurate conclusions about your product’s usability?
  4. How would you integrate usability during the production of your software or other product? If the usability turned out to be low after evaluation of the product, how would you approach changes required?
  5. Are there any ethical implications to the aspect of usability? For instance, how engaging does a website have to be before it becomes overly time-consuming?
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