The Usability Team provides consulting services in more areas than just traditional usability. Usability, while valuable, is just one contributor to a product's success. We believe that adoption of a product is a function of a construct we refer to as "Usefulness." The three factors that contribute to usefulness are usability, quality, and market fit.
The 1998 ISO definition of 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." Usability is, simply put, how easy it is for users to work with your product. Involving users in the design process of your product is the easiest way to make sure that the product will be usable and intuitive. There are a number of ways to measure and increase the usability of your product, and we can assist with each of these. Look for activities marked with a "Usability" logo in the descriptions of each of our methodologies.
Quality is one of the most important aspects of any product. The ISO definition of quality is the "degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements", but in the design of products, it can refer to a number of parameters which can be measured and improved.
The first parameter involves the implementation characteristics of a product:
The second parameter is stability:
The last parameter is support:
The Usability Team can evaluate the quality of your product as part of the usefulness model. Look for activities marked with the "Quality" logo in the descriptions of each of our methodologies.
Every product must have a market, but how do you determine what it is? In marketing a product, one must deduce the appropriate customer demographics, pricing structure, advertising plan, competitive differentiators, and feature set. Many products have failed not because of a lack of usability or quality, but because the marketing plan did not document a specific requirement, or because the product was priced incorrectly, or even because it wasn't released at the right place or time. We can assist you in developing your marketing plan, can do user research and focus groups to validate the plan, or can do a marketing review based on best practices. Look for activities marked with the "Market Fit" logo in the descriptions of each of our methodologies below.
With each of the three aspects of the "The Usefulness Characteristic", if you don't have enough of one, it doesn't matter how much you have of the other two. A quality product, deployed correctly to the market, will fail if it isn't usable. Similarly, you could have a completely usable product that meets all the needs of the market, but if it suffers from poor quality, it will not succeed ultimately. We take a holistic approach: by investigating all three aspects of "The Usefulness Characteristic", we can virtually assure adoption of your product.
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Scott Butler and Richard Gunther. All rights reserved.