Advantages of User-Interface Testing

Does this sound familiar?  You go to your development team to say that the company needs to test the usability of the product, and one of the developers says, “But we don’t need to do that.  It’s so easy to use!”  This would be a flawless argument if the developers were the only customers you…

Does this sound familiar?  You go to your development team to say that the company needs to test the usability of the product, and one of the developers says, “But we don’t need to do that.  It’s so easy to use!”  This would be a flawless argument if the developers were the only customers you intend to have.  If you have tried to teach a toddler how to tie his or her shoes you understand that anything can become easier through repeated practice and anything can be difficult if you’ve never done it before.  An outside assessment of a product’s usability can help provide a perspective that the developers may not have.

What are the benefits of a well-designed user interface?

Learning Curve – An effective user-interface will feel natural and almost second-nature in the hands of the consumer.  It will save time and training costs for companies that want to purchase your product.

Consistency – Your product is not existing in a vacuum and must coexist in the space of the consumer.  Will it fit in with the consumer’s lifestyle?  Does it provide the same tone that can be found in the rest of the space it will occupy?  Medical equipment, for instance, has a consistent, uniform appearance that puts doctors and patients at ease.

Safety – Mistakes can happen when users are not comfortable with the equipment that they are using.  To use an extreme example, if an emergency shutoff switch has been on the left side of the machine for decades, and your machine puts it on the right side for no functional purpose, that could lead to disastrous consequences in an panicked situation.  While the situation might not be so extreme, new and unwieldy designs can still lead to accidents or other dangerous situations.

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