About Usability Research

Usability describes the ease with which users can use a product or piece of information to achieve their goals. Usable products or information should enable users to complete tasks and achieve goals with increased efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction. Employing usability and its related user-centered design methodologies can result in increased productivity and sales, decreased support and development costs, and increased customer satisfaction. Usability consists of the following areas of research, development, and testing:
  • User research and analysis: Research methods for analyzing a target audience and defining their product or information needs
  • User-centered design: Design, development and production methods that place the user at the center of the design.
  • Usability testing: Quantitative and qualitative measurement of the user's experience when interacting with a product or information product
  • Human factors: The science of understanding human capabilities and needs and applying that knowledge to product and information design


The following resources provide more information about usability and the user experience: STC Usability and User Experience Community Usability Professionals' Association The following essay from Janice (Ginny) Redish traces the history of usability alongside technical communication and looks forward to their future together: Technical Communication and Usability: Intertwined Strands and Mutual Influences (pdf document from IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 53, 3, September 2010, 191-201) This page was created to support the usability needs of persona Margy Statler.