Principle 14: Ease of Use

Classification:  Application Principle

Statement: Applications are easy to use. The underlying technology is transparent to users, so they can concentrate on tasks at hand.

Rationale: The more a user has to understand the underlying technology, the less productive that user is. Ease-of-use is a positive incentive for use of applications. It encourages users to work within the integrated information environment instead of developing isolated systems to accomplish the task outside of the enterprise’s integrated information environment. Most of the knowledge required to operate one system will be similar to others. Training is kept to a minimum, and the risk of using a system improperly is low.

Implications:

  • Applications will be required to have a common ‘‘look-and-feel’’ and support ergonomic requirements. Hence, the common look-and-feel standard must be designed and usability test criteria must be developed and take into account the importance of “transferrable skills” whilst working with any given product.
  • Guidelines for user interfaces should not be constrained by narrow assumptions about user location, language, systems training, or physical capability. Factors such as linguistics, customer physical infirmities (visual acuity, ability to use keyboard/mouse), and proficiency in the use of technology have broad ramifications in determining the ease-of-use of an application.
  • Concentration should be to deliver ease at the point of consumption. There is recognition that to provide this expertise must be developed or bought.
  • Digital literacy will impact on determining the balance between expected levels of competence and ease-of-use.