Today, usability engineering is closely related to User Experience (UX) design especially in software engineering and development projects. One of the core design principles for today’s engineers is to provide a frictionless experience for all Guided User Interfaces (GUIs) used in their products.
Usability engineering goes beyond just designing frictionless experiences – it also requires designers to understand the inherent risks that arise during human interactions with systems. In this blog, we define usability engineering and the industries that benefit the most from using its design principles and development methodologies.
What is Usability Engineering?
In software development and system design, usability engineering is a lifecycle approach that governs the design of interactive products. While closely related to a standard software development lifecycle, usability engineering champions the user’s experience during each stage of the design process including requirements engineering, functional design, evaluation, and optimization.
Since the term became popular in the 1980s, usability engineering still depends on a development process that uses:
• Learnability and memorability
• Efficiency and error prevention
• Subjective satisfaction based on the user’s psychology
The goal of usability engineering is to develop products that consider the user’s heuristics during every stage of the design, test, and build lifecycle.
Top 5 Industries that Benefit from Usability Engineering
One of the earliest ways that designers gauged the user’s experience while interacting with a new system was by asking them to verbalize tasks while using the product. With think-aloud protocols, designers and researchers could determine how a person perceives and interprets interactions with a system.
Today, analytics and AI help usability engineers generate data that informs iterations of the design, build, and test phases in a product development lifecycle. Here are five industries that rely on usability engineering to grow their business and support their customers.
1. Real Estate and Property Management
A major element for a usability engineer is to consider the human factors during the engineering and analysis process. Architects and property developers need to consider all hazards when constructing a building, and the same principle applies to system engineers responsible for building management and safety systems.
In the real estate and property management industry, modeling the hazard-related scenarios aim to predict how the use of a system changes based on different users. For digital real estate and rental firms, the design of a platform needs to include these elements and inform users about the controls available.
This may include:
• Noting that a property has smart maintenance systems and connected instruments (IoT) to monitor conditions for prospective buyers
• Including virtual reality experiences that give users a first-person view of any property
• Providing additional information that users may need, including access to historical records or details about the surrounding amenities
2. Healthcare and Medical Device Markets
One of the industries that rely on usability engineering every day is the healthcare and medical device markets. The focus on patient safety and eliminating user error on devices could mean life or death in many scenarios. Including these considerations during the initial design, test, and build phases of a product development lifecycle can literally help save lives.
For most engineers and designers operating in these environments, the focus is to:
• Build easy-to-use, tamper-proof medical devices that support a patient’s health
• Developing information and records management systems that ensure accuracy and real-time access to the latest patient data
• Optimizing the resource allocation in medical facilities to ensure capacity management is adequate
3. Fintech and Financial Services
Record keeping in financial services is vital when firms need to pass regular audits and retain operating licenses. Usability engineering streamlines the governance processes that every resource needs to follow during their daily workflows. From payment terminals to immutable ledgers using blockchain technologies, the design for usability is helping the Fintech industry to build trust into their services and platforms.
4. Ecommerce and Digital Retail
The ecommerce boom created one of the most competitive markets today and usability became a defining characteristic for digital retailers. Every interaction that a potential customer has with a site or shop may affect the company’s bottom line.
Ecommerce companies use usability engineering during marketing, personalization, and customer lifecycle management. Organizations are turning to AI and ML technologies to understand customer perceptions, test out new experiences, and provide personalization using usability engineering.
5. Logistics and Transportation Industries
Supply chain logistics and transportation systems require strategic service-based integrations for the smooth flow of products around the world. Public transport systems can use usability engineering to guide visitors through terminals and stations with limited human interaction required.
The use of smart sensors and monitoring systems in supply chains enables the fast and efficient flow of products from the assembly line to the end-user. Usability engineering also helps logistic firms and transport authorities to speed up their digital transformation strategies.
Partner with Encora for All Your Usability Engineering Needs
Encora provides innovative engineering solutions for any industry that requires usability and intelligence built into its systems. Our team accentuates your capabilities to ensure you speed up your product development lifecycles, deliver engaging user experiences, and mitigate risks with engineering controls as part of your design.
For more information about our usability engineering capabilities and technological expertise, reach out to Encora today.