Usability means making products and systems easier to use, and matching them more closely to user needs and requirements.
The international standard, ISO 9241-11, provides guidance on usability and defines it as:The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.
Usability is about:
…which are affected by:
Usability should not be confused with 'functionality', however, as this is purely concerned with the functions and features of the product and has no bearing on whether users are able to use them or not. Increased functionality does not mean improved usability!
There are a series of international standards for usability and user centred design.©UsabilityNet 2006. Reproduction permitted provided the source is acknowledged.