My Usability Study Is Better Than Your Usability Study

from the everyone-calm-down-now... dept

I don’t deny that usability is a very important, and often overlooked, aspect of website design. However, you have to admit that there is a certain element of subjectivity involved in any sort of “usability” study. How much is subjective may be open to debate, but I find it difficult to believe that you can simply rank a site with a hard number on how “usable” it is. That idea is creating something of a fight in the UK over just how bad certain websites are. Last week, a group there said that many UK websites were terrible, based on their objective criteria. Now, another company (which helped design some of the trashed websites, suggesting a bit of a bias) claims that the first study was useless. They claim that it was just based on looking for certain features (does the website have a search box on the front page?), rather than looking at how people actually used the websites. In the end, this sounds like two competing companies with different ideologies on usability who are both looking for publicity so that more people hire them. In the end, usability is an issue between whoever owns the site and whoever uses it. If the people using the site find it useable, then everything’s settled.

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