If you have spent time in the web design field, then you probably have substantial knowledge about the term ‘user experience’. Most people have a fair understanding of what user experience design is, but the word ‘usability’ sounds new to the ears of those who often hear it in expressions like ‘usability engineers.’
Here usability refers to a subset of web design that has become quite common in Europe and the US.
Usability and user experience often create confusions in people’s mind because they are new concepts used in web design.
Even some designers who’ve been designing websites for quite a long time now, have a hard time telling the two from each other. That’s why this article tries to delineate usability from the term ‘user experience’.
User Experience describes how end-users interact with a system such as an app or website. When one talks about user experience, he or she is referring to his or her feelings and attitudes towards the system.
As such, User Experience is highly subjective and varies based on a user’s emotional and psychological expectations. That’s why, a user experience designer should analyze and anticipates the needs and expectations of the user, and then design apps and websites that best satisfy these expectations.
Usability in Web Design is principally concerned with the functional part of a system or product. It’s the quality indicator for an interactive system. It defines how a system (and its products) is efficient, easy to learn and learn with few or no errors so as to satisfy the user.
Usability is thus both objective and measurable. It measures how well products and systems satisfy their user. Usability engineers can thus assess the usability of a website in various ways including surveys and feedback analysis.
Elements of User Experience
- System usability – can users meet their expectations when using the system?
- System adaptability – do users switch to using the system to meet certain needs?
- System desirability – do users find the system fun, engaging and better than other systems in the niche?
- Value of the system – is the system valuable to its users?
Elements of Usability
- System functionality – does the system work as it was programmed to?
- System flexibility – can the system perform extra tasks besides its principal function?
- System learnability – can users use the system without the need for extra training?
- System design – is the system aesthetically pleasing to its users?
Goals of User Experience Vs Usability Goals
An improved user experience aims at enhancing the overall feel that users get when they use a web system. User Experience goals focus on helping the users get a positive perception of how a website or web application interacts with them.
Improving a website’s usability help increase the site’s ease of use. It considerably reduces the amount of work that a user has to do to complete tasks on the website.
User experience and usability are two closely related elements of web design and depend on each other. Usability leads to greater user satisfaction which in turns produces a better user experience. It’s, therefore, the role of every web designer to ensure that every website developed has the best in terms of usability and user experience.