More features v/s Ease of use? Why not both?

I guess everyone has gone through at least one frustrating experience trying to operate a product which should be the simplest thing in the world but isn’t. Take my microwave, I just wanted to reheat some food but was not able to understand how to heat it for more than a minute.

Unfortunately, with my internet down, it took me 15 mins of trial and error pressing the multitude of buttons to understand what I had to do.

Why is this process so confusing and familiar among the products we use every day?

Why this microwave has 34 buttons to choose from?

One issue could be the lack of standardization as I previously used a microwave with a knob to add time for heating, but different microwaves will have different features.

But how do they expect the user to learn when there are more than 30 flat buttons with no tactile feedback.

Most of the time, I use the microwave to heat my food for a specific amount of time, and the same goes for my roommates and most of the people I know.

At most, I use two buttons to perform this operation, meaning most of the equally sized buttons are utterly useless to me.

The disturbing trend is that going back through the evolution of microwaves, the older it was, the easier it was to understand.

Don’t get me wrong, improvement of a product with features is good, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the primary goal of the customer and making that experience easy for them.

What is learnability?

Learnability is a quality that helps the user to speedily become accustomed to and being able to use the capabilities and features of the product.

The term “Learnability” is frequently used interchangeably with “usability,” granted that they are of similar notion, but learnability belongs to a category of user testing.

Learnability metric is directly proportional to usability. The lesser amount of time and effort it takes the users to learn how to use a product, the more you save on training costs.

It would be especially significant for products that have inherent complexity of functions like an industry-specific solution.

In addition, good learnability makes users feel assured in their capabilities and enhances the likelihood that they will be content with a product.

It always useful to get into the User’s head (Photo by Startaê Team on Unsplash)

Why test the learnability of a product?

It is wise to spend time on testing the learnability of the product. Learnability is the measure of the convenience to become familiar and hence use the features associated with the product.

It is directly related to the usability of the product. Good learnability of products also helps in reducing the training cost involved in getting the user onboard.

If a user is satisfied with the straightforwardness of the product, they may keep an eye out for more options, if necessary, from the same company.

Factors involved in measuring learnability of the product

Effectiveness — The number of users able to use the application. It also includes the number of functions learned.

Efficiency — It is the time taken to utilize the application and the effectiveness rate of doing so.

Satisfaction — The worth of perceived value in utilizing the product concerning the investment made by the user in terms of time, effort, and cost.

Errors — The number of mistakes done and the ability to overcome the same.

Points that determine the learnability factor of the product

The criticality of the Apps

Users become more open to learning or investing energy in basic interfaces.

If the application is critical and straightforward, the possibility that the user will spend more time on the application will increase, and ultimately the user will master the process.

Accessibility of options

When users find options readily available, they will be fine-tuned to work on the application for completing regular tasks. They would find the process very convenient with every use.

With a clear definition of the primary, secondary, and tertiary goal in mind, the user can navigate where the designers want them to.

Be mindful of creating only one primary because if everything is important, then nothing is.

Ease of use of applications

Users are willing to spend time learning an interface based on the number of options available to use. If many options are not available in the given interface, they might want to check out other options.

If a one place interface providing solutions for multiple works is readily available, the amount put into learning would also be higher.

People have only so much mental energy to devote to the product, and the more that you can strip away that does not need to be there, the more you can help the user focus and hone in on what you want them to do.

All that is required is to provide enough information to proceed to the next step.

Straightforwardness

No one likes to travel from A to B through an array of a maze. The more direct the route is, the more natural the user finds to learn the application.

The ease can be brought into place by reflecting on the needs and enthusiasm of the user and creating a more cohesive environment that works similarly as a whole.

Leading the user through the funnel and taking them exactly where they want to go.

Value of Repetitions vs Time ( How long it takes the user to learn)

Conclusion

A learnability test is conducted on set individuals completing a similar process. The time taken by these users is measured against the errors made before completing the task is recorded and studied for analyzing future design redundancies.

A measure of the learnability test will help set an expectation. This measure will help determine if redundancies are required and what should be considered for clients to complete tasks efficiently.

Check out our ERP product where we have implemented these principles right here.

Deskera Engineering

Solving real world problems with loads of ingenuity and a dash of engineering

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