“Usability” or Make Things Comfortable

We live in a world where we are surrounded by a variety of devices used each day, ranging from ATMs to validators in public transport vehicles, from door handles to switches in the car. The emergence of new technologies has changed our life significantly. Lots of different gadgets, applications, services, websites surely make our lives easier and more comfortable for us. But are these tools always convenient to use? Each of us has at least once been faced with the situation when we couldn’t just figure out how to order a product from an online store or book tickets through a website. Everyone encounters similar difficulties every day. Usability is a science which was developped to solve similar problems. In other words, Usability stands for the ease of the use of everyday objects. The world is always in motion. Every day something new occurs, and if we do not find out how to use applications, websites, machines and tools conveniently, we are predestined to constantly "suffer". In order to introduce the future IT-specialists to the Usability problematics, the Deputy Director for the Business Development of the IT company “Intexsoft” in Grodno, Eugen Shashkou, has added a Usability theme to the educational unit "Business Analysis in IT", which he provides to the students of the speicalisation "Information Ressources Management" of the Grodno State University.
“Usability” or Make Things Comfortable
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IntexSoft

First Day

Together with a senior student from the Grodno State University, Kirill Melnichenko, Eugen started the usability day with a lecture. Eugen and Kirill talked to the group about the basics of Usability, addressed the importance of studying this topic and introduced tools which can help solving these problems before they concentrated on finding a solution to their first practical real-world problem together. The students were asked to split themselves into groups and design a user-friendly layout of a web-based system.

"It was very interesting to work on the creation of the layout. Thrilling and creative. We split into teams and worked as if it were for our own small businesses. We definitely want more,"- commented the students from GrSU.

An important part of the task consisted in selling the customer ideas for the implementation of Usability. Kirill took the role of a strict customer. During the process of persuading the customer the team speakers noticed typical mistakes. Together they were able to find solutions to make our lives easier, in other words to improve the Usability.

"We were very pleased with the first conducted lecture. The students clearly took interest in the subject and showed their desire to acquire deeper knowledge on this topic in order to solve Usability problems in the future, "- noted Eugen.

Second Day

The second day was dedicated to practical aspects of Usability. Deepening started with a small introduction to the basics of Usability testing.

Divided into two groups, the students proceeded to engage themselves with the interface of a real system which was designed for a large German company. The testing of the interface was conducted on the basis of previously prepared scenarios of the system’s usage. A fresh perspective and a creative approach helped revealing inconvenient places. Often these places turned out to be very unexpected as not even the developers have paid attention to them. Reviews and records to each scenario were collected and put together into a general statistical picture of the system’s Usability

"Excellent training. UX - it's cool! "- say students while sharing their experience. “It was very interesting to observe the behaviour of my colleagues while they were dealing with the tasks. Some found it easy and convenient, some others encountered difficulties. We have received many excellent records and suggestions on how to improve the software system being tested,"- concludes Kirill after the lectures.

Conclusion:

The world is still full of inconvenient objects, from chairs to poorly designed playgrounds, from inconvenient new websites to incomprehensible timetables for the public transport. Future UX-specialists can choose from a variety of spheres where they can apply their skills to make life more convenient. "The last decade in the world of software development stands out with the popularity of systems users enjoy working with," - says Eugen Shashkou who is in charge of the business development of the company “IntexSoft” in Grodno. - "The amount of information we receive every day is constantly growing while we are left with less and less time for complicated and inconvenient solutions. Only simple, comfortable and elegant solutions survive nowadays."


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