Usability Engineering in UX Discipline

David
Albert Shepherd updated on 2020-10-12 20:12:58
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With multiple applications and a broad scope of acceptability, various technological advancements are taking place. From simple to complex use, the technology is constantly upgrading to ensure its usability and acceptability to more significant users.

In the most common terms, Usability refers to testing, again and again, to ensure that the product or service is not outdated. The usability in HCI refers to human and computer interaction and the degree to which the communication is effective and successful.

Usability testing is done to check that the minimal design level is accepted and used in a friendly manner. All the usability aspects related to the technology, product, or service are handled by a discipline called usability engineering. Indeed, usability has turned out to be more of a commodity than just a concept, and this has given rise to the growing importance of usability engineer in every field.


What is Usability Engineering? - A Brief Introduction.

Usability engineering is related to understanding users' needs, designing the softwares based on them, testing them to ensure better performance, and continuously upgrading them to meet the new demands. An ongoing process, usability engineering is a goal-setting, iterative, and holistic approach available at both design and development stages.

A thorough and vital concept that is applicable in all the technical and non-technical fields, the usability engineering lifecycle is based on primary three stages:

  • Requirement Analysis

It is the first step involved with analyzing the user's requirement and setting the goals. It includes identifying the characteristics required, the task to be performed, determining capabilities and constraints, setting the broad guideline, and defining the framework. In a nutshell, this is the step of designing the blueprint of the work or software.

  • Design, Testing, And Development

This is the phase where the software is designed and tested for further development based on the blueprint. Focusing on the standard prototyping and points is the key to designing a model that fulfills all the needs and is simple for the users to handle and use. Testing allows the usability engineer to find the loopholes and changes to validate the software and make further developments.

  • Installation And Feedback

The product is now tested, verified, and ready. The usability in software engineering is linked to launching the software in the market to be used by the potential users and getting feedback from them. Likewise, the usability of interactive systems is based on how effectively the communication between user and system is established. Feedback is taken to ensure that the expectations are met and to know the potential outcomes that a user might be expecting.

A never-ending process, usability engineering is crucial in every field, especially relating to software and user-interface. Based on the usability engineering lifecycle, the goals of usability that one can identify are:

  • Effectiveness in terms of achievement of goals and expectations of the customers. It involves the total time taken to complete the work as well.
  • Efficiency in terms of accuracy of performance and completion of the task. It includes the interface design, visual design, graphics, and other aspects that make the platform friendly.
  • Engaging in terms of pleasing and satisfying in use. It relates to the level of ease and comfort a user finds while using the service.
  • Error tolerant in terms of the eros committed. The lower the error rate is, the better the performance and customer satisfaction will be.
  • Easy to learn is the most crucial goal that points towards simplicity and comfort in using the product. The speedier the user can learn the product, the more powerful its approach is.

Usability is not confined to one aspect but is related to multiple areas, creating overall importance for the users. The higher the satisfaction of the users is, the better the result of the usability testing is.


An Example of Everyday Usability Engineering.

One can spot usability engineering in every technical tool, application, or website that a person uses today. It is an inbuilt part that focuses on optimizing the performance by offering a greater degree of satisfaction. From offering ease of learning to acceptability, usability engineer work on every small aspect to fulfill the customer needs.

A perfect example of usability engineering in every life is the websites we use. The usability of interactive systems is best displayed by the retail gain Amazon. The platform is perfectly designed to suit mobile, tablet, and desktop screens. To create ease of learning or accessed by the user, the platform offers multiple languages, and the clear hierarchy of products makes product hunt easier.

Secondly, the platform's efficiency can be seen with the performance, as there are hardly any instances of downtime, hampering the customer usability and experience. Lastly, the website is one finest inaccessibility and learnability, making the customer's time spent on the platform worthwhile.

The users visit a platform with a particular set of expectations in mind, and when fulfilled, the goals of usability are fulfilled most straightforwardly.

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Common Uses for Usability Engineering.

Before we understand the common uses of usability engineering, it is essential to know the applicability of usability engineering in HCI. Usability is one of the critical concepts of HCI, which is linked to the goals listed below:

  • Understand the factors that determine technology used by people
  • Develop tools and techniques for building better and suitable systems
  • Achieve efficient, effective, and safe interaction for continuous learning
  • Put people first and focus on their needs and expectations.

The usability engineer works a step ahead of finding the solution to the problems by applying the tools and techniques to continuously upgrade the system to ensure better serviceability at every phase. The most common uses of usability engineering are:

  • In collecting and reviewing the current project and making changes as per the needs of the customers.
  • In defining the small goals linked to offering better performance and acceptability of the online platforms among the users.
  • In designing the learning and gaming platforms that offer knowledge and entertainment to the users.
  • The mobile applications and the websites are made to offer ease of use to the users. The usability engineering works on various factors in the software designing to offer smooth services to the users.

The relationships between Usability Engineering and UX.

The responsibilities and roles of the usability engineer and the user experience engineer are usually seen interchangeably. The two operate together to offer a greater degree of service and satisfaction to the users enhancing the overall user experience. Where the concept of usability is narrow, the notion of UX is broad and holistic.

The two together operate on the functionality issues to enhance customer satisfaction and maximize the product or service's overall effectiveness and efficiency. One can explain the relationship between the two with th help of the major points listed below:

  • Offering design that reduces the waiting period of users.
  • Ensuring a user-centric design that is based on the user’s needs.
  • Designing a system that can manage errors smoothly.
  • Offering an intuitive and easy-to-follow navigation system.
  • Streamlining the complete process of operating the software or system.

Conclusion

Improving the product or software usability is the critical plan of any business. The business relationship's longevity is based on the acceptability and functionality of the application by the user. The usability engineer focuses on testing and developing techniques that offer ease of use and fulfill the needs of the customers.

In the competitive environment, the usability engineer ensures that the company's product is best placed in the market compared to that of competitors. A new concept, usability engineering, is one with application in all the fields by enhancing the user experience and acceptability, a must to strive and reach the top.

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