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Terminology: Usability, HCI, UCD, IA

16 March 2011 | admin | Theory


It’s a property of a system or a product. If a product is usable, it means users can accomplish their goals with its help; it means there are no barriers to task resolving. Usability professionals consider these tasks and goals when working.
Standard ISO 9241-11 defines usability as follows: “usability 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”
At the same time, usability is a discipline that is concerned with software interface design. HCI is a scientific basis for usability.

HCI (human-computer interaction)

It’s a scientific and applied discipline, studying the way people use computers and the way computer systems should be designed in order to provide most efficient usage by end users. It includes elements of psychology, ergonomics, informatics, graphic design, sociology and anthropology.

UCD (user-center design)

An approach to computer systems design (applications, web sites) when primary importance is assigned to users, their needs and requirements. This approach allows to reach high level of usability, which results, for instance, in increase in sales (e-store).

IA (information architecture)

A complex of methods and ways of organizing information to facilitate users in information search and browsing.
Fitts’s law
The time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the distance to and the size of the target.

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