What is Usability Engineering and What are the Principles

Peter Martinez updated on 2024-06-06 13:45:43

The Usability engineering concept dates back to the 1980s when the members of Digital Equipment Corporation and IBM – John Whiteside and John Bennet published materials on the subject, isolating the early setting of goals, iterative evaluation and prototyping as the key activities of designing. In his book Usability Engineering, Jakob Nielsen describes usability engineering methods to use throughout a product development process such as barriers to learnability, efficiency, error-free use, and satisfaction before implementing the product. His work describes usability testing and how to use usability heuristics in the life cycle of usability engineering. 

What is Usability Engineering

Usability engineering is a practice that aims at creating a highly effective and user-friendly design or products by using evaluation usability engineering methods for software developers. 

Usability engineering in software engineering is a professional discipline which focuses on improving the usability of interactive systems. This profession mainly draws its theories from Computer science and psychology to define problems that might occur during such a system. Testing the design at various stages of the development process with the users are done by usability experts. A usability engineer mainly focuses on the research phase rather than finding solutions for the usability problems, which is the focus of a UX or product designer. 

Great usability is one of the critical factors to keep the users engaged and satisfied with the product. Usability testing is an ongoing process and a core part of the development process. By doing constant testing, it will benefit the company from abandonment and dissatisfaction of the users. According to Google, 79% of users will abandon a website of the website's usability is poor. As a usability engineer, it's essential to keep the user in the centre and focus all the design, and processes according to the needs and user's usability. Keeping on practising will make you a good usability engineer and the experience will show you how to plan, run, analyze and make reports on usability tests. 

What are the Principles of Usability Engineering

The basic principles of usability engineering 

  1. Prototyping – Prototyping means the blueprint or a draft of a design that the designer has in mind. The designer will first create rough wireframes which will be a rough draft of the design. Wireframes can be made on a pen and paper, so it's easy to erase or redo the design. Once the wireframes are well suited, designers shift to more advanced prototyping tools and then give their designs are more life-like appearance. 
  2. Iterative testing- refers to making small and gradual changes to the product to bring an updated version of the product. The updates with be based on the insights, e.g. testing results and feedback from the users. The process is generally working on a loop until the finalized product is perfect. 
  3. Empirical User Testing – User testing is a user-centred usability evaluation method that helps the evaluators observe and record the user's performance during the testing. During the user testing sessions, the evaluator will interpret the user's actions to them to infer how these actions are related to the usability issues in the design of the interface. The evaluators will record everything about the entire testing process, such as users Behavior, facial expressions, remarks, and any other kind of gestures. 

The Best Tool for Usability Design 

Since one of the leading usability engineering principles is Prototyping, Wondershare Mockitt is an excellent software for creating prototypes and wireframes. It is a software that works on Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu, making it a versatile tool. This software has an excellent user interface making it easy for even beginners to create powerful prototypes. Wondershare Mockitt has a free option that is available for the users. Therefore, anyone who is just starting to explore the field of designing can get their hands on with this software. Once you are done designing, this tool allows you to share your design with its sharing options efficiently. Therefore, Mockitt is an excellent software for creating high fidelity prototype. 

usability engineering

This software comes with rich features such as:

  • There are over 200 templates, icons, widgets to choose from. Having these Pre-made templates can be very time saving, and if someone is new, it will also be very convenient for them. You can create these templates without having to code. 
  • The templates and designs have a drag and drop option, so a convenient way to place the design on each screen. You can also choose the mobile screen you want to create the prototype for iPhone, iPad, Android devices etc. 
  • Interactive linking and animated components is also a great feature of Wondershare Mockitt. The interactive transitions can be dragged and dropped from one screen to another. The animated components will add a substantial interactive feel to the design. The best part is that all these do not require coding. 
  • Designers can customize their colour palette and keep them in a design system. They can also save and customize templates, icons, symbols and store these in a design system. This way, the designers can use the same design system and not drag and drop every time. 
  • You can decide to work on a team and assign many contacts to your design if you're working together. Team members can change and edit the design, and it will reflect on the design automatically. All the changes are saved. If you want a bit more privacy, you can assign authorization to a particular person with a password to make changes to the design. 
  • Wondershare Mockitt makes sharing easier than ever. You can share a QR code, or a link by copying a URL with your clients or stakeholders. They can click on the URL and find the design. There is also an option of exporting the design in different formats such as HTML, SVG and PNG.