Why Usability Matters
Posted on June 7, 2013
From how we choose which apple to buy at the supermarket to how we decide which car to purchase—all of these choices are defined by our experience with the product. We want an apple with no bruises, a glossy shine and a good taste. We want a car that is safe and performs well. We desire products that do what we want and are usable in ways we’re comfortable with. If they are not, we move on and choose something else—a different apple, another car. The same holds true for software products: if they do not provide a positive experience or are difficult to use, customers will find something different.
Understanding what makes a positive product experience is where usability testing comes in. The aim of usability testing is to observe people using the product in order to discover errors and areas of possible improvement. Not to be confused with establishing a superficial “pretty face” for the product, usability testing helps developers get closer to the core of simple, effective products that clients want.
Paycor’s Nikki Murray, a User Experience (UX) Designer, echoes the importance of positive product experience, saying, “Interacting with technology or a product is emotional: you get frustrated when there are errors, and happy when it’s easy to use and you can remember how to do it the next time you use it.”
Nikki conducts monthly usability testing for Paycor applications like Perform, HR and Custom Web Reporting, getting feedback early and often. She works with Paycor’s Client Service team to find clients who are “power users” of the product, or who have provided feedback or voiced complaints in the past.
By giving these users various scenarios and tasks and watching as they complete them, Nikki gains insight into how the product is used in the real world and is able to identify potential issues. Looking at their natural behavior speaks volumes about the user’s priorities and what is most important as they try to do their job.
“We may have built a workflow that we think is simple and makes sense, but if the user’s thought process veers off in another direction as they are completing this flow, we know we need to rework something,” says Nikki.
Usability testing goes beyond simple customer feedback—it allows product designers to study both what the customer says and what he or she actually does when in contact with the product. It also allows for the continued questioning of the value, usefulness and necessity of product features.
In addition, usability testing provides an element of human connection often lacking in today’s world of online communication and automated telephone calls. Personal interactions help Paycor’s teams really understand the “why” and “how” of the way clients use our products. For Nikki Murray, meeting and establishing relationships with clients is her favorite part of the job.
And the clients agree. As one client said during a usability testing session, “I think it’s good that you get your information from us, rather than being huddled in a room by yourselves wondering what everyone is thinking. Instead, you get us out here and listen to us.”
By focusing on listening to our clients, watching how they interact with our applications and building their feedback into our products, we ensure that we are delivering the user experience and functionality our clients want. When an HR and payroll system is designed with usability in mind, users gain even greater improvements in efficiency and increased focus on business strategy.
To learn more about how our intuitive payroll and HR applications can help your business perform better, get in touch with us today.