Here is a useful article on usability, Usability Is King For Your Product. Here’s How We Can Finally Measure It., where Roderick McMullen explains why he prefers to measure usability in qualitative terms, rather than quantitative. The former will give the big picture (is the user happy or not with the product/service?). He also points out how difficult (or not very useful) are the existing usability measurement tools.
Since usability presently might stand between a brand and its customers, it’s worth making sure it’s representing it in the desired way, and leaving customers a) satisfied, and b) ready to recommend that brand to others, says McMullen. But, he argues, you won’t know unless you measure it.
Below are quantitative ways to measure usability:
- Efficiency (how long a task takes)
- Effectiveness (whether or not a subject can complete a particular task)
- Subjective satisfaction (whether or not the experience is enjoyable)
- Error rate (how many times the subject makes a mistake, even if they eventually complete the task)
But here is what McMullen proposes, a single question that can help measure usability qualitatively:
- How confident are you using this system/product/service?
He notes that the important thing is not so much the question itself, but making sure it’s asked. If using a scale of 1 to 10 to slot the answers, pay close attention to scores below 7.
McMullen also presents three statements that are so true:
- The worst thing you can do to an adult is make them feel stupid (as in using products/systems usage that causes frustration).
- Technology is supposed to work for people, and not the other way around.
- We tend not to take things seriously unless we’re measuring them.