Unusable Podcast 001- WTF is Usability anyway?

Unusable Podcast 001- WTF is Usability anyway?


this is the unusable podcast. Don’t get so close to the mic, you’re spitting all over it! Hello and welcome to the unusable podcast where we
welcome to the unusable podcast where we discuss the importance of user
experience in technology and the world around us
my name is David Ball I’m joined by Andrew Waite and we even took today
about what Andy? Usability I hope, which is good considering the name of the podcast
yep ok so you’ve got a dictionary definition hold on before we do this say
who we are ok why we care about usability oh yeah I care about New
Jersey so I’m web developer, and we both work in the field of web design and technology so the user experience is kind of important
– yeah it’s important to me as I’m building user interfaces and things like
that I want to make sure that everything that I build is going to be usable and once you start to think about usability
you think about it in the whole world so how you use everything how you use
technology how you use buttons interfaces are it like everywhere I want
they yeah well we’re forever send each other messages aren’t waiting when we
spot something that isn’t quite right the product that we’ve bought or
something as stupid as a door that opens the wrong way will be the usability of
doors yeah that’s a whole episode for the future I think I was gonna talk
about later on yeah well we can come back to that but yeah yeah I’m a product
owner so it’s important for for me to usability right in a product that yeah
enable people to use it more easily in there therefore impacts on bottom line
so usability is crucial but we can come
back to that a bit a bit more I think yeah so about your bottom line that
comes that comes in later episodes when we’re struggling come on move on yeah moving on so
definitions of usability so yeah I did a bit of research beforehand good but I
didn’t yes I want I want to look up what usability is and the truth is nobody
really has a singular definition the dictionary definition is the degree to
which something is able off it to be used which true but I think it’s or is
big yeah are you any better definitions yeah I’ve got well so according to iso
nine to four 1-11 this is why you google in a higher saver numbers yeah which is
which is the iso standard for the ergonomics of human system interaction
specifically part 11 usability definitions and concepts a
standards and definitions right anyway according on according to the data is
the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve
specified goals with effectiveness efficiency and satisfaction in a
specified context of use i didn’t listen to any of that but what usability i
think to me usability is important it’s more important than those words well
that’s what I weigh I kind of wanted to to look that up because I’ll bring that
up I should say is because I I think it’s a very dry yeah it doesn’t really
allay what it what it would it really is but everyone already knows where
usability is right you know even though you don’t know yes when I hug my
usability will mean you user experience as well right although I suppose you
have to define those two things where is there a difference well you said
something really interested to me yesterday the first time you have ever
heard of it and we yeah so a motorway is great for usability but poor for user
experience it’s very usable it’s usable because it’s functional it from A to B
and then really not much friction I’m talking
about metaphorical friction not the literal friction of yours but there
isn’t much you know friction it’s highly usable but is there a breaking user
experience oh you’re gonna write home about it you know you’re gonna tweet
that you’ve just had a great motorway Drive probably not and so and so what
they say is that actual user experience is more like a country road so you know
you might say you know that’s the great driving so you enjoy it so using two
areas is you enjoying your user experience yeah I think well according
to this definition at least user experience goes beyond its usability
plus some enjoyment you know a potato peeler is probably usable but is it does
it have a great user experience so the reason why I said that I think everyone
knows what he could use of experience is imagine a door there’s a really good
product by 19 percent invisible and they they talk about Normand doors yeah
and so there’s this guy called usually fentanyl Midori’s okay well so there’s
this guy called Donal and he’s not going to usability expert and he works for
Apple and he’s an expert and so he had a problem when he thinking when he came to
England actually he was not sure about the light switches because you know
rocker switch light switches it’s difficult to know if they’re on or off
say if you’ve got to like anyway it’s irrelevant know you’ve got me interested
so in the UK normally if it’s a single light bulb switch it’s when it’s pressed
at the lower half then is on there when it’s pressed at the upper half it’s off
yeah but not if you’ve got like one upstairs
oh you see like a 2-way switch yeah turn it on okay anyway I wrote this book
about usability and part that was doors so you know when a door works and you
know when the door doesn’t work and when it doesn’t work is when you accidentally
pushing on the pulse and it’s matching the face and you’ve embarrassed about it
this actually leads on to something that I want to say and I think it’s what
usability is to me and that’s the remote job like you said you know when a good
door works and I don’t think you do when it when a good door works
you do not notice oh I see and I think that you’ve had a good user experience
you don’t notice well I think usability at least I think user experience for me
is more because it you know if it’s great you will want to do some
University like tweet about it but usability good usability is invisible in
day to day life good usability is invisible so okay it is shaking the
friction out of everything to the point where you just get on with life and
don’t notice it so you’ve got the thing done that you needed to get done
yeah so the doors job is to open closed I’ve opened a thousands of doors in my
life really yes anyway so the reason why I was talking about Don Norman in this
this control so he was noting that this some doors have a pull handle but it’s a
push door but it’s not a push door yeah and so they’ve got to stay is gonna have
a little instruction on there that says pull or push and he says that if you’ve
got to have instruction then the doors failed right and so everything
everything being in an interface the interface itself should tell you what it
does and what it’s for it should allow you to discover the things that it does
so a door that has like a flat plate you’ve got nothing else to do other than
push it so you immediately know how to how to work it if it’s got a pull handle
you’re immediately thinking oh I need to pull yeah I think there are some cases I
think they’re their niche but I think there are some cases where that what you
just said falls down so I think I think in the main yes things should be
self-explanatory but I think for example someone at I don’t know the the BBC who
is operating a very complicated broadcast desk probably is going to need
a higher level of you know you’re gonna have to assume that that person can read
and have labels if you if you’ll be okay yeah you need to make sure that people
can read and deny me a little bit of education on the desk but there’s no
point making something deliberately more complicated for them true and I think
that most things you know the things that we deal with the things that you do
with a day in your life the thing you know but it certainly from a consumer
standpoint I people going on to buy something on our
website you know that should be frictionless self-explanatory and you
shouldn’t have need to have complicated labels saying if you need to check out
press this button and then this button and if it’s a Tuesday press this button
because that’s a website but no yeah so an example of an e-commerce website that
things need to be easy if they’re not easy then you’re not going to make as
much money someone’s going to abandon halfway through you don’t want for
example a complicated checkout process some time that I like I said I think
that good usability is invisible after the first time really it just becomes
the norm I think is anybody’s bad that we really notice you know I get angry at
a check house in the self-checkout in the supermarket oh I know yeah I know
because they have poor usability and I notice because it’s poor if those
checkouts were great I would just go and go on with my day
but because they’re so terrible what’s the biggest gripe you’ve got about them
oh where do you even start with self-service checkouts to be honest I
think it’s the lack of trust from the supermarket in that there are so many
blockages in there that stop you from doing something until someone’s come
across and press 85 buttons that really not a usability and actually they’re
cost saving I would imagine of NAAFI to employ someone on a checkout would
offset any sort of minor shrinkage or loss that they would have from people
stealing things or being a bit ly fingered with it yeah my opinion is that
they should just make it slick I would I would probably choose a supermarket that
implemented better self-service checkouts over one yeah that would be a
selling feature from it do you think I’m unique in that that would ya know
because they’re Majan if you were say buying online you would you choose the
website that you’re buying from based on the usability wouldn’t you so yeah why
not go back to I mean it’s not the only factor that goes into my online buying
choices and it wouldn’t be in the real world either but it I mean what is that
to choose between most high speed walk it’s not a lot other mean there’s a
slight price difference with some but you know if you’re talking about sort of
Tesco versus Sainsbury’s most people it’s just which ones nearby
yeah for me if I was buying online I definitely would choose the best use of
experience or I would more likely go with one that it’s already has my detail
saved ooh I hate how to enter your details again so things like things like
if it remembers what you bought last time and suggests things you would
totally go for that it’s not that it’s that I don’t want to have to enter in my
address my credit cards wait for an email to confirm my account it also
slows it down now that’s amusing to me because that is something I’m okay with
but literally that it’s interesting as that amount of friction as little as it
is is enough to stop you from switching to a competitive yeah so if a competitor
was able to simplify the signup process were somehow they found you address
automatically I had a switching process you probably move all I need to go with
it well all those things I mentioned technically they do get also filled by
Chrome don’t they sometimes so that yeah it forever ease is Auto filling the
wrong things for me and also did you see that this is a slight tangent but I
think good for it’s interesting oh did you see that during the day where
someone showed it everywhere they can steal details from the autofill without
you realizing so you know you know how you see some form fields and you click
on the first one and it will say autofill these details then it fills the
whole format yeah if you have a hidden field on that form called like address
or something it will autofill hidden fields as well as visible ones that’s
right and then when you click Submit you might be submitting details that you
don’t realize because they’ve been auto filled so I thought is a completely
thank you to usability but it’s so if I keep this same website and never ever
never ever buy from any other websites than the ones I’ve already signed up see
that I’ll be fine yeah I guess all your shopping habits I’m not sure I’m making
interesting good usability should have a financial impact from in this and it
should give you an edge so a better experience for your customers so an edge
over competitors and yeah if you remove friction from these
processes then you should go I mean there’s lots of other things to look
like you know Google Analytics different people you know things like bounce rate
you know that’s that’s essentially a great metric vunerability talking about
your websites again but what about what about doors
I’m obsessed about these doors if your door to your business is rubbish and
wrong and you’ve got loads of people like trying to pull into the push or the
way around they’ve immediately had a bad experience
with your company or business yes yeah I know you can I think you can I think in
terms of a real world example what you could do is it’s come with a way of
measuring them of people that stumble or fail to get through the door before
actually getting through it yeah okay maybe some people try and get through it
I’ve been to businesses before where the door is so sticky that you think the
business is closed and you walk away and then only later do you realize that
actually was open and the door was perfect analogy yep yes so that’s that’s
a checkout abandonment yeah if they’re if they’re recording that they could
find out there check out a panda ban right so so yeah I’ve been looking at
car websites and most of them know going back to what we’re saying earlier in the
podcast about the sneaky door and he can probably block before they even got into
the shop right so a lot of car websites have this horrible surveying that pops
up it literally as you visit the homepage and says have you got time just
to answer a question why are they my site today and then you answer it and
then it goes can we ask you some more questions after you’ve finished your
visit you’ve not even done anything yet it’s literally on the home page yeah
to me that’s the equivalent of someone standing at the front of the car
dealership as you walk in going to look at a car go and Kylie let’s get a few
questions please and and how paid off would an actual user be well the
question is data but have you been able to find anything you’re looking for
today I’ve just arrived there’s all sorts of questions well I think most of
you think it says you know keep open and I’m sure after you’ve left but I think
is it’s just really bad experience to to put a blocker in the way of people when
they’re trying to find who’ve mate on your website and the third
thing they get is this horrible poeple asking them to answer questions to push
people off it puts me off we do never go back to the website very again
I usually purposefully give wrong answers well you’ll screw their
analytics oh yeah if you’re gonna block any information that I want to get to
you just I’m gonna yeah purposefully throwing them off in their statistics I
hope I have some statistical significance in their sample but I got
it’s the worst thing you could do just answer how I just answer it incorrectly
yeah I just go ye visiting our website today buying a company car
and they usually goes like when are you buying it and I’ll go tomorrow this
isn’t even terrible information you should say things like I want to buy
some cheese developer tools to like change it to have my own option if I
want to maybe their back end is like loose enough that it doesn’t validate
the options and actually they get one person that says I want to buy some
cheese in their database yeah but that’s my gripe anyway that you can’t get on
any car website without first having to bypass this horrible survey what have
you got to tell me about okay just from Twitter okay so I saw how they tell on
Twitter sure sure not really I think he’s just
it’s full of people tweeting yeah okay so one of these be the tweeting it was I
didn’t write down who was and I can’t find the tweet now but there was a
picture of a the Apple watch right yeah and so it was updating and so it had a
primitive hour on the side mm-hmm so it’s likely programs to say
it’s a baiting itself in the middle it said yeah which is what you’d want
oh yeah in the middle it says updating okay but the problem is this is a watch
so what should and it’s bare minimum right tell you the time but it wasn’t
telling you the design it’s updating you can’t use your laptop when it’s updating
yeah but this is a watch okay truly you should always tell you the time to be
honest no I’m yeah it would be a much better if it had like a
upstate or reduce state when it was abating it could still tell you because
presumably that doesn’t require much processing power or I’ve no idea it’s
look but might be really common ease of processing power to still be able to
show you a photo show a screen in a progress bar so presumably it wouldn’t
be that much more difficult to show a clock or some kind of time output arm oh
yeah I just think that when something is is a watch it should be a watch first
and foremost and then all of these extra features that it can do and it can do
quite a lot it’s clever thing but it will be great if it used like
progressive enhancement good I think it’s not like progressive enhancement is
is something that’s not in its normal usable use usage state isn’t it whereas
like this is this is an anomaly when you’re meeting up should be a rare
anomaly when it’s being well I suppose but if you if you can’t see you watch
wanted to be away very anytime yeah and it’s great that you watch people do all
of these extra things I check emails and stuff but it’s and its basic sure that
you should do it’s basic so Wells would you consider basic because a lot of
watches that are considered basic still have for example I’m thinking of the the
classic Casio here stopwatch and an alarm so do you think those should still
be accessible when it’s when it’s updating or
no just tell the time yeah I probably be with you I’m just kind of so when I
think of progressive enhancement I always think of escalators
so yeah escalators it’s a good one if they’re great yeah if they break they
just become stairs yeah so it is basic it’s doing the the thing that it needs
to do and then an escalator will move you up or move you down so much is
elegant failure I feel like there’s a maybe a difference there okay so we
ruining all my all our material for a future episode about progressive
enhancement by the way well if we can’t talk about it for five minutes well let’s think about a lift right so a
lift it’s better lift fails it’s unusable completely broken you can’t go
anywhere yeah but if an escalator fits but what I’ll use it but what I’m saying
is I feel like progressive enhancement to me means for example on the web
giving a better experience to people’s who’s user agents accept it but either
way those are normal success states of the application so like a normai check
out that for example supports extra features in the latest latest chrome
yeah even someone our old ie is still using it to a stub for what it’s
supposed to be you so progressive enhancement is allowing someone that
supports extra things to do more things there’s a better term for this so I
should have been using all along which is graceful degradation that’s the word
I was looking for it’s an asset so that’s when something will instead of
failing completely it falls back to something that is still a usable state
that is exactly what I was looking for so I should have used that term straight
away and I should have known what it was when I had it in my mind as well but I
couldn’t think of it I call it was an on trade motivation yeah but yeah go back
to your wash thing yeah graceful renovation yeah would have been
ready falls back to its basic state exactly telling ya we’ve got the right
word for it right graduations to write about way fantastic
experts on usability so that’s it thank you for listening it would be great if
you haven’t already if you subscribe to our podcasts on whatever you used to get
your podcasts if you want to get in touch with us maybe suggest something
that we can talk about in future then you can message on Twitter we are at
unusable podcast okay bye

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