Usability is marginalized in many organizations owing to time constraints, lack of a clear definition, ignorance and more. But the greatest obstacle to usability is that too many decision makers aren’t interested in it. A study of marketing directors by e-consultancy found that most of them had no idea about usability or its importance in ensuring that their websites actually delivered business benefit.
Tom Stewart highlights the trap we’re getting into.
Easy is good but it is not enough. Focusing on ‘easy’ tends to marginalize it.
In today’s competitive times, I can see an IT project manager saying “we would have liked to make the new billing system a bit easier but we really didn’t have time and we did not want to delay it”.
I can see a hard pressed business manager saying “ok, it would have been nice but we didn’t want to wait”.
However, if you use the ISO 9241-11 definition, the picture changes. Can you honestly imagine the project manager saying (out loud) “We know the system is not going to work but we wanted to be able to tick the ‘delivered on time’ box?”
There is a strong need educate the people who take decisions on what usability brings to fore and promote it within the organization.
Articles listed below analyze the business case for Usability (important to convince the big wigs on ROI) and dig down deeper into promoting usability in organizations
- A Business Case for Usability by John S. Rhodes
- Usability ROI Declining, But Still Strong by Jacob Nielsen
- ROI of Usability: A Collection of Links
- Usability ROI: Case Studies
- Return on Investment by Barbara Ballard [Updated June 9th, '08]
- Evangelizing Usability: Change Your Strategy at the Halfway Point by Jacob Nielsen
- How to promote usability in an organisation by UsabilityNet
- Incorporating User Centered Design in Your Organization by Maria Isabel Espino, Usability Expert
- Promoting Usability at Lucent Technologies by Cheryl L. Coyle and Karen L. Ziech of Lucent Technologies