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What Is a Usability Evaluation?

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  • Written By: Jim B.
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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A usability evaluation is a process by which businesses attempt to verify the quality and workability of the products that they wish to sell. This type of evaluation is often connected with the information technology industry, since products like computer software have many different aspects that must be handled by its users. There are several different methods of usability evaluation that may be utilized, including having users test the products and having the product designers see where problems arise. Businesses must make sure that the evaluation reveals any specific difficulties that users have and decide whether the product fulfills the objectives it was intended to meet.

Companies that produce goods and services for consumers generally test out those goods and services before they are presented to the public for sale. This process prevents companies from putting products on the market before they are ready. One of the main aspects that must be tested is the overall experience of the interaction between the product and its user. For this reason, it is common for a usability evaluation to be a part of any product rollout.

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In general, a usability evaluation is designed to show whether the product will follow through with the experience that its designers intend it to provide. It is often necessary for those with intimate knowledge of the product to be involved in this phase. Since they know exactly what the product is intended to deliver, their inspection of the product is crucial to the overall success of that product once it is put on the market.

Testing out the product is obviously an important step in any usability evaluation. By having typical consumers who would be the target audience for the product come in and test it out, designers can evaluate just how well the product fulfills the needs of these users. This testing phase may also be accompanied by an inquiry session, which allows designers and others involved with the product to ask testers about their experience using the product. Inquiry may reveal how consumers really feel about the product in question.

All of these methods used to perform a usability evaluation must answer certain questions about the product being evaluated. The evaluation must show whether the product is easy to use for the intended audience, and whether it provides them with exactly the outcome they require. In addition, the evaluation must determine if there are any glitches in the process by which the product reaches its result so that they can be eliminated.

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