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22 Examples of Usability

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Usability is the value of a user interface to users. Generally speaking, this means that an interface allows users to achieve their goals efficiently in a pleasing environment that doesn't induce stress or boredom. The following are illustrative examples of usability.

Easy to Learn

An interface that works as users expect or that is easy to learn with a little trial and error.


Environments that are pleasant to look at and interact with.


An interface that allows work to flow efficiently. If an employee has to submit a particular form 100 times a week it may save them several hours a week if the form is densely packed on one screen as opposed to a workflow of 20 screens.


Experts are able to find the detailed controls they require.

Human Friendly

Interfaces that conform to the user as opposed to forcing the user to conform to the technology. Users shouldn't be required to format data in a particular way to make an engineer's job easier.

Error Tolerant

A system that is able to correct errors as opposed to giving up and displaying an error message.

Error Clarity

When errors occur it is clear why. For example, mystery beeps aren't very helpful.

Error Magnitude

Errors that aren't critical are presented in as pleasing format. Urgent errors that impact safety or significant business risks are presented to be impossible to ignore.


Steps and controls are clearly explained such that a user isn't left wondering.

Drill Down

Information is summarized with quick access to more details. Generally speaking, it is only necessary to provide drill down for copious information. Hiding information when you only have a few paragraphs isn't typically helpful.


In the short term, interfaces may be judged by obvious factors such as look-and-feel. In the long term, they are judged by the power of their functionality.

Cause & Effect

It is clear what a control does.

Value for Effort

Functionality is great relative to the user effort required to use it.

Information Density

Information is presented at a density appropriate to its purpose. For example, large amounts of information might be presented at a book-like density.


Interfaces that are designed to the edges with easy to read text.


Interfaces that are compatible with standard technologies. For example, websites that don't require a browser plugin.


A technology with a similar interface for all its functions.


It is easy to locate what you're looking for with tools such as navigation functions and search.


People tend to value stability and may find a tool that is constantly experimenting with its interface to be unfriendly.


Navigation and functions are clear. For example, text links are generally easier to understand than an icon that attempts to depict some abstract concept.


Information, functions and navigation follows conventions such as the rules of grammar that are commonly respected in a particular format. For example, avoiding all uppercase text.


Techniques such as storytelling and gamification that make interfaces addictive and fun.
Overview: Usability
The value of a user interface to users.
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