User-centric product design and interface have been the rage for the past decade. With users taking the centre seat in product development, it only makes sense that product usability would gain traction. However, although a widely known concept, implementing product usability in development is still challenging. This is primarily because engineers tend to take a goal-oriented approach when it comes to hardware development. 

This takes away the attention from the end user and shifts the focus to process optimisation. While equally important, incorporating product usability in the development process is necessary to prevent added expenditure. This article provides simple, user-friendly tips engineers can adopt for improving product usability.  

Know Your Audience:

A significant contributor to product usability issues is the lack of knowledge engineers have towards their intended audience. Granted, knowing your target audience is not easy when the product is still in development. This could be particularly true for products intending to solve a relatively newer user problem. 

However, despite such ambiguity, understanding how engineers wish their users to interact with products can significantly help improve usability issues. Questionnaires and interviews are excellent tools for understanding user intention and motivation. This can help engineers streamline their efforts and develop a design that complements the user’s needs. 

Solve User Problems:

Even a one-of-its-kind innovative design is doomed if it fails to clearly define actions for the users. In other words, your product usability directly depends on the ease of function. Remember, at the end of the day, your product is supposed to be used by a set of end-users. That is why engineers must steer clear of solutions that make the development process easier. 

For instance, not labelling symbols like buttons, knobs and switches can save considerable development effort. However, symbols without descriptions make the entire interaction far more difficult and time-consuming for the users. When it comes to product usability, focusing on user problems and convenience is a foolproof way of designing user-friendly products. 

Testing:

Testing is the backbone of any product. You need critical feedback and insights to make improvements and understand failure points. As such, there are a variety of testing engineers must conduct to get a precise understanding. Unit and integration testing can help resolve the first level of errors in product development. 

Similarly, end-to-end test automation can be a real asset for ensuring the design operates as expected. It can also help maintain the data flow for all user tasks and processes. Since E2E testing provides verification from start to finish, it can help seamlessly implement user perspectives to real-world scenarios. 

Prototypes:

Product development is a time-consuming process. Not getting your programming and functions right the first time can prolong the development cycle and increase expenditure. On the contrary, launching a new product that effortlessly meets every objective the first time is unrealistic. This is where prototypes come into play. 

Low-fidelity prototyping can help engineers simulate their product’s functioning without throwing away precious hard work. As fast and affordable tools, low-fidelity prototypes make it easy to make changes and test new iterations. This can help engineers refine operation to lay the foundation for coding and programming. 

 

Final Thoughts:

Product usability is an essential element of product development. After all, user interaction and experience depend heavily on their capacity to complete tasks accurately. From an engineer’s standpoint, usability can influence the success of their product. That is why keeping the users at the forefront of product development is essential. By following these easy tips, engineers can ensure their products stay streamlined with user motivations and actions.