R.H. Wohl & Associates, Inc.
In Plain English

Usability Testing and Consulting

Usability is the measure of the quality of a user's experience when interacting with a product or system — whether a web site, a software application, a set of instructions, or any user-operated device. Usability is a combination of factors that affect the user's experience with the product or system giving designers, programmers, or writers valuable information they can use particularly in the early stages of development where changes are less costly.

In a typical usability test, users perform a variety of tasks with a prototype (or other system) while observers record notes on what each user does and says. The goal of usability testing is to uncover any problems that users may encounter so those problems can be fixed. The result of usability testing is a set of recommendations for improving the product, service or procedure.

Dr. Deborah S. Bosley, professor of communications at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a nationally recognized plain language consultant specializing in the financial, health, and engineering fields is the leader of our Usability Testing and Consulting Laboratory. Her clients include TIAA-CREF, Wachovia Bank, Royal SunAlliance Insurance, the NC Foundation for Advanced Health, the Privacy Council, and the Federal Trade Commission. Bosley believes that consumers have the right to understand the information that affects their lives. that Using plain language strategies saves business and non-profit organizations millions of dollars each year and usability testing adds to that bottom line. Bosley is the author of numerous articles on issues related to clear, concise writing.

To use our Usability Testing and Consulting Practice, email us at Usability@InPlainEnglish.com and tell us about your concerns.

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