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What is usability?

Usability is a concept in user interface design that refers to how effectively and efficiently a user can interact with a user interface. The term usability incorporates a few other concepts, such as learnability and usefulness. The usability of an interface is one of the most important criteria of a user interface in user-centered design.

Areas of use of the usability concept

Usability does not only refer to web interfaces. Usability comes up in connection with any software or electronic device that involves interaction between a human and a machine. The biggest areas of use are computer science and electronics. However, usability is not restricted to human-computer interaction. We can also talk about the usability of a tool or a book.

Criteria of usability

There are a few criteria for the usability of an interface. One of them is learnability. It should take a user as little time as possible to learn how the interface works. The interface should also be memorable, that is the user should be able to remember how to use it the next time. Other important factors of usability are connected with how efficiently a user can achieve his goals and how many errors the user makes. The last criterion of interface usability is user satisfaction. How much a user enjoys working with an application ultimately determines its success.

Related terms

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