Saturday, February 4, 2012

How to measure the effectiveness of product usability

I have worked for many products using in healthcare, Power automation, building automation, Aerospace where user interaction is very critical, every steps impact in certain way. A small mistake can cause human life.
Mission critical Software product has to develop considering user effective usages, how efficiently user can use it and what is the user confidence level, comfort level. It is not the UI or look and feel , but it is the usability which will tell the product management team about the effectiveness of the product under specific environment, specific circumstance how easily , efficiently user can use the product.

According to ISO 9241, Part 11, usability is “the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use.”2 This definition ties a system’s usability to specific conditions, needs, and users—it requires establishing certain levels of usability based on the five basic attributes.

It is
“A process through which usability characteristics are specified, quantitatively and early in the development process, and measured throughout the process.”
Usability techniques, therefore, can help any software system reach its goal by helping the users perform their tasks. Furthermore, good usability is gaining importance in a world in which users are less computer literate and can’t afford to spend a long time learning how a system works.
Organization will not able to capture the market effectively if they ignore this factor. Likeability factor for product has to go up. We cannot command our customer to buy our product. The product which will get great customer satisfaction will sell like hot cake. The good amount of engineering marvels will not help in long learn if it is too complex to use.
How do we measure that product is in excellent shape to use:
The system should always keep users informed about what is going on through appropriate feedback through reasonable time.Systm should have good way of communication with the user through well define understandable format.
According to definition below parameter are good to tell about the product usability:

a) Learnability: how easy it is to use the software for an average user without much background.

b) Efficiency: how fast user can operate the system

c) Mistake: how many mistake users do while executing certain operation?

d) Easy usage: how easy to use the system or remembers the steps after long gap.

e) Satisfaction: will operator appreciate about the product after usages

How can we increase user efficiency and satisfaction and, consequently, productivity?
Usability
Techniques, therefore, can help any software system research its goal by helping the
Users perform their tasks.

How do we have done our feedback collection?

a) Inquiry
b) Inspection
c) Testing

We have created user profile with right users. All kind of users we have done various tests to get the feedback from all the team members. We have consolidated the inputs and brainstorm to complete the gap analysis with the current system.

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