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- Why Usability Should Be The Most Important Design Consideration
“Work smarter, not harder” was a mantra cited by Allan F. Mogensen in the 1930’s to describe how he believed workforces needed to evolve. It is all very well throwing more time and money at things,but if the essential methods of working are inefficient then you are fighting a losing battle. This sentiment has taken on a new form in the digital age where everything is being linked together via the internet and controlled centrally from a small device in our pockets. But not everything in life is digital, and even for those humble items there is still quite often better ways of working to be found.
Keeping it simple
One of the biggest mistakes that people make on this front is their belief that technology makes everything easier. This is not always the case. Take curtains for example; it can be a wonderful thing to be able to push a button or verbally instruct them to close, but if you have a power outage, or the system fails then you have to bypass it to do something as basic as draw your curtains. Simply pulling the fabric into position works perfectly well so is it necessary to overcomplicate matters?
A smart design
Of course, whilst there is overthinking things, we also have the ability to completely underthink them as well. Making sure that you provide enough of a user friendly experience does require some consideration, just as making sure that you don’t overdo things does; both provide their own challenges. Consider something as simple as disposable gloves for example; you could provide a bulk pack of them that is simply a large container with 1000 gloves inside, meaning that 500 pairs are available but they require pulling out independently. No thought has gone into this design and it can be frustrating for the user. Instead, what if you arranged your gloves in easy to use gloves dispensing systems where they are pre-paired and can simply be pulled out together and are ready to go, enabling you to offer a better experience to the user. Just to illustrate this point, overthinking this idea would entail something that you might have to put your hand in and the glove is already stretched open in position for you to slide into; an idea that sounds great, but is full of potential problems.
Think about the user
Both of these examples should serve to demonstrate that by simply considering how an item might be used in a variety of situations, then you can easily spot most of the potential problems that can arise from over or under thinking something. Making sure that you try and consider all angles of a design decision before making any final choices will help ensure that you provide the best user experience that you can. This is undoubtedly one of the most important things to consider with a product, as even if it isn’t the ‘best’ on the market, a good experience can sell it way beyond an extra feature.