What is usability and why is it so important?

What is usability and why is it so important?

If a new software or a new web application is introduced in a company, the employees decide whether they find it good or bad as soon as they use it for the first time. Similarly, users make decisions about a website in a very short time. But why is this? One of the key success factors is friendliness. What does it mean? And what is its importance for companies?

What is usability?

In short, usability describes the usability or usability of a digital product. Particular attention is paid to design and ergonomics.

The ISO standard DIN EN ISO 9241 defines the term usability as “the extent to which an interactive system can be used by specific users in a specific context of use in order to achieve specific objectives in an effective, efficient and satisfactory manner”.

One of the best examples can be found with a brief look into the past: Windows 95. A brand new look has replaced the previous text-based command entry. While the functions have remained the same, the user-friendliness and the well-thought-out design have convinced users. Windows quickly became the most widely used operating system.

fun facts

This only became possible with Windows 95 X uniformly introduced for closing windows and programs. It was placed at the last minute in the top right position we know today and has ensured consistent usability ever since. However, Windows was not the inventor of the X to close: it has already made its first appearance at Atari TOS. But with the success of Windows 95, it became the norm.

What is the difference between ergonomics and user experience?

The terms usability and user experience (UX) are often used interchangeably. UX is better with user experience Translate. It describes the user’s expectations, perceptions and reactions before, during and after using a system or software product.
Usability, or usability, on the other hand, describes how intuitive the operation of a system. If the user achieves his goal quickly and easily, he is satisfied with the use.

“Usability answers the question, can the user achieve their goal?”
-Dr. Joyce Lee

Usability therefore only includes actual use and considers usage behavior. The goal is to take the stress and frustration out of the user by making a website or software product easy to use. Quality UX however, aims to give the user a positive user experience to offer. Usability is therefore a central element of the user experience.

Why is usability so important?

The user-friendliness of the software you use as a business and the user-friendliness of your website visitors have certain advantages.

Benefits of usability in software for your business

saving time and money

A high level of software usability saves you time and money for training your employees. If it is intuitive to use or guides the user himself, he can start using the program without spending much time.

Motivation to use and better user acceptance

High usability also promotes motivation to use software. The first use is often associated with a long search for functions and therefore with frustration. The faster a user becomes familiar with new software, the more likely they are to accept it and use it on a daily basis.

Reduced service and support costs

Good usability also prevents making mistakes in the first place and shows how problems can be solved. It also saves you service and support costs.

Benefits of usability on your website

Acquisition of new customers and higher conversion rate

If your website convinces with its good user-friendliness, it makes it easier to acquire new customers. On the one hand, a well-designed and transparent website promotes a positive perception of your brand and your products. On the other hand, with good navigation and user guidance, site visitors perceive more offers, which increases the conversion rate.

loyalty of the clientele

A high level of usability also increases customer satisfaction when visiting your website or using your product. Your customers arrive quickly and easily at their destination on your website. Whether it’s the right information and content or the products to buy. This in turn builds customer loyalty, as satisfied customers will buy again.

Fewer service charges

If your website or online store can be used intuitively, users will also transact on their own. This saves you customer service and support costs.

sales increase

Good usability also means fewer canceled purchases. In addition to the advantages already mentioned, user-friendliness also ensures your economic success and gives you an edge over the competition.

What defines good usability?

As already mentioned, users often unconsciously decide on the usability of software. Systems that are not intuitive or in which the user must first search for certain functions are not used or only reluctantly.

What are the criteria for good ergonomics?

consistency and clarity

You can see all the important functions of a user-friendly software or web page at a glance.

Similar situations are always represented schematically in the same way, so that you can use the system intuitively and recognize paths instead of having to think long and hard. The pages on the Internet are improving more and more in terms of similar structure and navigation, so that users get used to a certain structure and can use the offers faster and more intuitively.


User-friendly software and web pages always give you the fastest possible path to the desired function. The fewer clicks on the feature you are looking for, the better.

Easy troubleshooting

A good software or website avoids errors on its own. Or rather, it prevents errors from being made by the user. In case of incorrect entries and actions, it offers you troubleshooting options or suggestions for correction.

Informative comments and status reports
The system always tells you what is happening in an understandable way.

help and documentation
Ideally, you can use the software intuitively without assistance. If you still need help, you can find information quickly and easily directly in the software.

Usability testing and measurement

Usability testing is done to find out how users act when using software or a website and what mistakes they make. There are different methods and key figures to measure and test usability.

For example, users’ eye movements are tracked with the eye tracking method, and mouse clicks can also be tracked with special tracking tools. In this way, one can follow what is most interesting for the user and how quickly he can achieve his goal.

But there are also methods beyond the laboratory. For example, context analyses, i.e. the use of the software in the appropriate context, such as the workplace. With these analyses, structured interviews, and measurements of how quickly and efficiently tasks can be performed with the software, you’ll get realistic usability results.

Intuitive user-friendliness makes it easy to implement the software

Imagine that you are full of energy and introducing new CRM software. Although the CRM offers all functions for your business processes, these functions are not easy to find. Result: you and your colleagues are frustrated. In the worst case, the new software is not used. However, if each of your employees understands and can use the software immediately, you will get:

  • Better user acceptance
  • No loss of efficiency after software introduction
  • Low training costs and short training periods
  • High employee satisfaction

Usability is not just a fact in software, web applications and web pages

Especially with enterprise software solutions such as CRM software, the importance of user-friendliness is often underestimated. Criteria such as scope of services, compatibility and performance are paramount when selecting new software. Usability as a “soft fact” is still overlooked.

However, the overriding objective when introducing CRM software is always the optimization of business processes. As described above, the software must be accepted by users. User-friendliness contributes decisively to this and saves you costs, time and frustration in the long run.

And you should also pay attention to usability when developing your website. She is now the figurehead of your company. A high level of usability allows you to win new customers and turn them into existing ones. It can also impact your brand reputation, even with little things like faster loading times and ease of use.

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