Often companies build their software backwards, adding user experience design, or usability research, only after they have built core features.  If you frequently find your self in conversations in which people say things like, “We can’t do usability testing.  We have to get this product to market and we don’t have time to redesign it.”  you know you’ve been a victim of this bass-ackwards product development process.  Usability should be addressed up front.  What good is a feature if it’s not usable?

Put another way, the most time consuming part of painting a house isn’t the painting at all, it’s the prep.  Sanding all the old paint off, taping the windows, etc. are all critical steps in the process.  Painting is actually the easy part.  But if you don’t do the hard work up front, you’ll spend a lot more time fixing your new paint job, chipping paint off your windows and redoing what you’ve done.  Might as well do the hard work up front.  It will save you time in the long run.  Ditto for usability work.

I hear the same refrain from software engineers.  They tell me that if they design something carefully enough and think about it hard enough, the coding is simply just slapping on the paint at the end.  It’s all about the careful preparation before putting paint to wall, pen to paper, or keyboard to code.

Here’s a great usability beginner’s site recommended by my friend and usability guru, Chatree –


One Response to “Usability”

  1. Great stuff Nicholas, keep it coming. Having a overarching framework/philosophy is also key, provides context that helps make decision-making faster.

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