Have you ever heard in a meeting the expression “that is usable” or “that is not friendly”. Yes? Well I have a question for you: Do you know what these expressions mean?. No? Well let me throw you light in this topic, “what is the meaning of usability?”

Usable? Friendly? What are they talking about?

A well known example that I found quite representative and I love in particular is the ‘Coffeepot for Masochists’. This is an object created by the French artist Jacques Carelman back in 1969. He designed a series of objects called ‘Catalogue of Impossible Objects’, his intention was to parody the consumer society up today.

Image take from Bs As Central Market- Coffeepot for masochists

I think this example is quite fun. Can you imagine yourself using it? What difficulties would you have?

In my case, this coffee pot make me feel uncomfortable since the moment I look at it and image myself using it. I think if I read it’s requirements, probably it would be logical, however it won’t be effective in the moment I try to use it. I love this example since it’s quite representative: this is not friendly or not usable

So we could do a general observation: An object is usable or friendly, if in the moment you take a look at it you know how to use it without doubts.

So, what is Usability?

It’s a Quality Attribute, very related to digital products, however you could find this attribute in any object. Usability indicates how “usable” the object we are talking about is.

PyxisUX Challenge

Try to think of another fun example not usable, and share it on Twiiter, I dare you!

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Sources: Don Norman is one of the fathers of Usability, I really recommend you his book Design Everyday Things – Don Norman. This book is a reference in this topic.