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So I’m living in two worlds….

Each day I look at software, web applications and websites. I look at it from a quality assurance perspective–does it meet quality standards? Where is it in the testing process? I look at it from a testers standpoint–what needs testing? Where are the bugs? But I also look at it from a customers perspective–if I were to buy this software to use for my business, would it make sense to me? Would I be happy I bought it?

Now therein lies the rock and the hard place. As a tester, I know where the bugs are. I have an eye for detail–that Cancel button that is aligned too far to the right is going to drive me crazy, and if that drives me crazy, you can only imagine what the broken buttons or links to do to me. But I also have to remember that the average Joe Doe is not going to notice these things–he is going to be looking at how he can apply it to his business. He is also going to be looking at it for the first time ever, and trying to learn how to use it quickly so he can then train his staff on how to use it and quickly implement it.

So just what makes a product usable? Is it all just about being intuitive? Is it all about the look and feel? Is it all about simplicity, lots of Help buttons, tool tips, and tricks? Is it about being completely bug free, 100% solid, running as smooth as possible?

It’s up for debate, but I think it has to do with all of these things. The simplicity, the easy of use, the look and feel, the tool tips, the Help buttons, and having a thoroughly solid product so that users can get done what they need to get done.

In the end, it really is all about the end users experience.

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