14 October 2011 is World Standards Day where the three major international standards bodies IEC, ISO and ITU celebrate the contribution that standards make to international commerce. The theme this year is ‘Creating Confidence Globally’ and it strikes me that this is particularly relevant to usability.
Most creators of digital products design their products to be usable: effective, efficient and satisfying. Although sometimes this is hard to believe, I do not think anyone deliberately ignores their users.
However, what some designers quite frequently fail to do is to apply current usability best practice or test out their products before launch. When real users find the products difficult or cumbersome to use or fail to get the desired results and stop using the product, this can come as a surprise to the unwary designer (and their bosses who see the costs of their investment rising and the benefits diminishing).