Usability in Finnish ICT industry
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201511212159
|Publish Date:|| 2015-11-25
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
In today’s highly technological world there are devices for every occasion. That is why there is intense competition between developers who often create quite similar kinds of products. One of the multiple ways to stand out from the crowd is to have good usability in their products. By investing on usability companies can make their products better and that can improve their relationship with customers.
The goal of this thesis was to find out how ICT organizations in Finland approach usability. This research was conducted by sending a survey to randomly picked Finnish ICT companies and the data was analyzed once the survey was closed. Literature review was also conducted and the results of literature review were reflected on the results of the survey.
The results were very positive and most of the respondent organizations did conduct usability evaluation at least at some level. They used multiple usability evaluation methods and they did it at different stages of the product’s life cycle. These organizations seem to understand what usability is, for they all defined it within the lines of most common definitions of usability. Even organizations that do not do any usability evaluation seem to be interested in usability and might do usability evaluation in the future.
Usability as concept is still very young when it is related to technology. Usability does not have one universal definition either but many have defined it in their own manner, such as International Organizations of Standardization (ISO) standard organization have their own definition for usability. The age of usability as an acknowledged concept or its definition does not matter however, because every single product which has interaction between the product and user has usability in it, whether it is good or bad. There have been multiple studies that show the benefits of investing in usability and good usability is nowadays essential in technological products.
Many different kinds of usability evaluation methods have been invented during the years. They range from the most used and rather simple usability evaluation method heuristic evaluation to more complex eye-tracking evaluation methods and there are many other methods beyond those two examples. Automated usability evaluation is becoming very popular and there has been new research in recent years on the subject which is no surprised considering that automated processes are becoming more popular every day. However usability testing is still primarily done by human beings. That is why it is always important to remember that whenever there are actual users testing the system, those testers are not subjects of the test. The system and its user interface are the test subjects.
There has been previous studies on this subject, including couple theses done at the department of information processing science in the university of Oulu. The results of the current study show that 87.5% of ICT organizations in Finland do usability evaluation. Previous studies have shown similar kind of results. The results of previous studies and the current study show some positive results on how seriously ICT companies take usability and they really seem to want to have good usability in their products.
The purpose of this thesis is to understand what kind of approach Finnish ICT organizations have for usability, its evaluation, and how they understand usability. This study’s purpose is not to obtrude usability evaluation. In some cases usability evaluation can even do harm to the system if not used properly. Usability evaluation should not be forced upon development. If usability evaluation is considered useless and unnecessary in organization, then it should be left out. However every organization should at least evaluate their current stance on usability testing to find out whether they need to do it.
The bottom line is, that usability evaluation does a lot of good for the system if it is done correctly and at the right time with right tools. Good usability can decrease costs on documentation, support, training, and in many other things. Good usability can also increase sales a lot. Many studies have confirmed this during the years and it is very likely that future studies will confirm this even more.
© Joona Toivanen, 2015. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.