Re: [Usability] measuring and improving user productivity

On 30 Oct 2008, at 13:29, Long Gao wrote:

I think the productivity is related to the Average time of Average users to
accomplish Average tasks.

In the desktop, the time is measured by mouse clicks, mouse path, and key strikes. A desktop that could use least mouse clicks, shortest mouse paths and fastest key strikes to accomplish average tasks, is a desktop of of the
most productivity.

That's one way of looking at it, and there are certainly ways to analyse and improve this aspect of a design--the GOMS model, for example, and applications like CogTool < >. These give us quantitative data that we can use to compare the theoretical efficiency of competing designs.

Other factors to consider are how long it takes the user to learn the most efficient way to perform a task (if, indeed, they ever learn it), and how well they remember how to perform that task over time. Satisfaction may be important too; a user can be more productive with a system they enjoy using, than with one they do not. These aren't things that one can easily measure in a one-off usability study, unfortunately...


CALUM BENSON, Usability Engineer       Sun Microsystems Ireland
mailto:calum benson sun com            GNOME Desktop Team             +353 1 819 9771

Any opinions are personal and not necessarily those of Sun Microsystems

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