June 17, 2005, 1:06 pm

The End of Usability

By d/D

Software developer Joel Spolsky is almost ready to say that usability isn’t that important:

“…an application that does something really great that people really want to do can be pathetically unusable, and it will still be a hit. And an application can be the easiest thing in the world to use, but if it doesn’t do anything anybody wants, it will flop.”

Spolsky doesn’t really want to tell interface designers to retire, but he does advocate a change in focus. Instead of fine-tuning how humans interface with computers, usability experts should consider how humans relate to other humans:

“Over the next decade, I expect that software companies will hire people trained as anthropologists and ethnographers to work on social interface design. Instead of building usability labs, they’ll go out into the field and write ethnographies.”


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Filed under: Usability, User Experience

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