The recent celebration of the first ever World Usability day is a perfect way of spreading the word on software and web usability in the Philippines. However, if usability, accessibility, and web standards are to become necessary ingredients in every software or web development project, we should think beyond these things.
What’s the value of usability if it does not provide the functionality our customers need?
What’s the value of accessibility if the information we provide are not the right information?
What’s the value of following web standards if our website does not provide anything useful to our visitors?
Decision makers don’t care about usability, accessibility, standards, information architecture, nor user-centered design. What do they care about is the value that these things can deliver to the organization.
Will it increase revenue?
Will it reduce expenses?
Will it bring in more customers?
Will it enhance our brand?
As usability evangelists, paid or not, we should promote usability in a language decision makers understand and that is the language of value.
If the e-commerce website tolerate misspellings and/or allows customers to filter search results, there is a high probability they will find what they are looking for, which can translate to more sales.
If our web application complies with web standards, we can reliably serve more customers than if we restrict our web application to Internet Explorer. After all, Mozilla Firefox is steadily increasing its share of the browser market.
If our application is easy to use, calls and emails to the technical support team will be reduced.
Let us stop promoting usability, accessibility, and web standards just for the heck of it. Let us deliver value.