Your constantly-updated definition of Usability Engineering and
collection of videos and articles
What is Usability Engineering?
engineering is a professional discipline that focuses on improving the
usability of interactive systems. It draws on theories from computer science
and psychology to define problems that occur during the use of such a system.
Usability engineering involves the testing of designs at various stages of the
development process, with users or with usability experts.
The history of
usability engineering in this context dates back to the 1980s. In 1988, authors
John Whiteside and John Bennett—of Digital Equipment Corporation and IBM,
respectively—published material on the subject, isolating the early setting of
goals, iterative evaluation, and prototyping as key activities. The usability
expert Jakob Nielsen is a leader in the field of usability engineering. In his
1993 book Usability Engineering,
Nielsen describes methods to use throughout a product development process—so designers
can ensure they take into account the most important barriers to learnability,
efficiency, memorability, error-free use, and subjective satisfaction before implementing the product. Nielsen’s
work describes how to perform usability tests and how to use usability heuristics in the usability engineering
lifecycle. Ensuring good usability via this process prevents problems in
product adoption after release.
focusing on finding solutions for usability problems—which is the focus of a UX
or interaction designer—a usability engineer mainly concentrates on the research phase. In this sense, it is not
strictly a design role, and many usability engineers have a background in
computer science because of this. Despite this point, its connection to the
design trade is absolutely crucial, not least as it delivers the framework by
which designers can work so as to be sure that their products will connect properly
with their target usership.
Literature on Usability Engineering
Here’s the entire UX literature on
Usability Engineering by
the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:
Do you know if your website or app is being used effectively? Are your users completely satisfied with the experience? What is the key feature that makes them come back? In this course, you will learn how to answer such questions—and with confidence too—as we teach you how to justify your answers with solid evidence.
Great usability is one of the key factors to keep your users engaged and satisfied with your website or app. It is crucial you continually undertake usability testing and perceive it as a core part of your development process if you want to prevent abandonment and dissatisfaction. This is especially important when 79% of users will abandon a website if the usability is poor, according to Google! As a designer, you also have another vital duty—you need to take the time to step back, place the user at the center of the development process and evaluate any underlying assumptions. It’s not the easiest thing to achieve, particularly when you’re in a product bubble, and that makes usability testing even more important. You need to ensure your users aren’t left behind!
As with most things in life, the best way to become good at usability testing is to practice! That’s why this course contains not only lessons built on evidence-based approaches, but also a practical project. This will give you the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned from internationally respected Senior Usability practitioner, Frank Spillers, and carry out your own usability tests.
By the end of the course, you’ll have hands-on experience with all stages of a usability test project—how to plan, run, analyze and report on usability tests. You can even use the work you create during the practical project to form a case study for your portfolio, to showcase your usability test skills and experience to future employers!