Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Designing for usability: key principles and what designers think

This article is both theoretical and empirical. Theoretically, it describes three principles of system design which we believe must be followed to produce a useful and easy to use computer system. These principles are: early and continual focus on users; empirical measurement of usage; and iterative design whereby the system (simulated, prototype, and real) is modified, tested, modified again, tested again, and the cycle is repeated again and again. This approach is contrasted to other principled design approaches, for example, get it right the first time, reliance on design guidelines. Empirically, the article presents data which show that our design principles are not always intuitive to designers; identifies the arguments which designers often offer for not using these principles—and answers them; and provides an example in which our principles have been used successfully.

The full text of this article is premium content


No entries found

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.