Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Evolution of What Is Easy to Use

Today I found this short blog post by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang (thanks to odannyboy who linked to it on twitter). I really liked the post. The author makes a good argument for the dynamic and complex reality of what we consider to be "ease of use" or "user-friendliness". Pang points out that what makes a thing easy to use is not something given and stable over time. The example he uses is the development of the computer mouse. This realization also reveals that the methods and approaches used to measure usability and ease of use can also quickly become outdated. This means that neither what we consider to be correct design solutions, important design qualities, or our measurements of these qualities, or our methods to design such qualities can be fully captured, understood, and prescribed (at least not for any substantial time period). The reality of design becomes, again and to no surprise, more dynamic, more complex, and never predictable :-)