What is usability?

Usability is a word that is not in the official dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). However, it is very common in both the field of computer science and technology. The concept comes from usability and refers to the ease with which a user can use a tool made by other people to achieve a certain goal.

More specifically still, we can determine that one of the basic principles that must be followed when designing and creating a website so that it has the best usability is to think about the user. That is, it must be done and for the user. Usability is therefore linked to simplicity, ease, comfort and practicality. In other words, the notion is related to the perceived effectiveness of an object and the possibility of harnessing its full potential.

For example, a computer might be technically very advanced but difficult for the average user to use. Therefore, in addition to its potential to develop complex tasks, it is not a useful machine due to its poor usability. For usability to exist, the human-system interaction must be clear and simple. If there are deficiencies in both material and logical or virtual aspects, usability will be compromised. Usability states that if the system in question cannot be used by the user to its full potential, it is not useful and therefore deficient. The degree of usability is measured from empirical tests (with fieldwork among several users) and relative tests (comparison with similar systems). One of the concepts or terms that is closely related to what interests us now is what is known in English as findability, that is, recoverability. It is a word that refers to the ability of any information to be found and retrieved. It should be noted that this recoverability is indisputably determined by issues such as the disclosure that has been made of said information through the Network (advertising banners, emails, notifications on social networks, contests…) or by its positioning. in search engines. Starting from these premises is how we understand the close relationship that exists between ease of finding and usability. And the fact is that the easier it is for the user to browse the Internet, the easier it will be to find and retrieve the information that is inserted in that web space. Another term linked to usability is accessibility, which refers to the ability of people with disabilities to access a tool. In addition to all the above, it is important to point out that those who have doubts about the usability of their web space have at their disposal several tools to be able to analyze it. Specifically, it is recommended to carry out tests on certain users and hire professionals who are experts in the field or in visual monitoring systems.

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