U is for usability

This post is part of a series, “Digital: From A to Z,” that explores what it means to be digital. What’s in your A to Z of digital? Find me on Twitter @Max_Hemingway or leave a comment below.

Usability is something that we have learnt and adapted within the human race for thousands of years through using and shaping tools and everyday items. With the development of the computer, usability relates to the way in which software is used and displays information on a device (hardware) for us.

The usability and UX (user experience) of devices are key. If someone can’t use the application or device they may start looking for an alternative that they can use.

In software engineering, usability is the degree to which a software can be used by specified consumers to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a quantified context of use.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability

As technology evolves, we are presented with new ways of visualising information and interacting with it.

The digital era is seeing bigger steps towards these visualisations through augmented reality, virtual reality, holographics and mixed reality. This, in a way, makes it easier to present information and interfaces to users, as real-world environments can be replicated or enhanced with digital overlays. The expansion of these mediums is ushering in other interfaces such as gesture and wand controls, which widen the possibilities for usability of applications and systems.

Voice controls are providing different usability and UX interfaces that, at the mention of key phrases, can control an event or action such as turning off lights. Other developments we are seeing are implants (jackables), providing a different way of interfacing with devices, such as turning things on/off as you walk near them.

The challenge going forward is keeping up with the rate of change, and keeping usability and the UX up to date and relevant.

Join me next time as I look at “V is for visionables” in my Digital A-Z series. See my last post, T is for Twenty-First Century Digital.

This entry was originally posted in Max’s blog.

Max Hemingway — Senior Architect

Max is a senior architect for DXC in the United Kingdom. With more than 25 years of experience, he has a broad and deep range of technical knowledge and is able to translate business needs into IT-based solutions. Currently the chief architect of the BAE Systems account in the UK, Max has a proven track record acquired through continual client engagement and delivery of leading edge infrastructures, all of which have delivered positive results for end-clients, including IT cost reduction, expansion of service capability and increased revenues.


  1. The challenge of UX and Usability update in small companies is significantly higher as that includes cost and small companies have the maximum threat because they struggle constantly to justify their investment, meet up their expenses, scale up etc to remain fierce in today’s constantly changing technology world and customer expectation.

  2. Rebecca (Becky) Sherrill says:

    Max, I very much like the manner in which you communicate information. Your blogs are informative and succinct, Looking forward to more. Thank you for doing this.


  1. […] Join me next time as I look at “W is for wearables” in my Digital A-Z series. See my last post, U is for usability. […]

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