Want To Improve Usability? Count Calories

Jeff Sauro, PhD

When babies are born in the hospital nurses measure every feeding and diaper change.

When you want to lose weight with Weight Watchers you log everything you eat using a point system.

When you want to improve usability beyond obvious problems you need to record:

  • symptoms:  lower completion rates, lower satisfaction ratings, longer task times or more errors.
  • causes:  what design elements are leading to lower performance? Is there a pattern to the problems?

It is tempting to just find, fix and forget usability problems. It is tempting to skip one milkshake and think you’re losing weight. Systematic measuring uncovers patterns and helps prevent major problems. What will you or your organization learn from quantifying usability issues?

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