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Small Usability IconIn general, usability refers to how well users can learn and use a product to achieve their goals and how satisfied they are with that process.

A key methodology for carrying out usability is called User-Centered Design.

Usability measures the quality of a user’s experience when interacting with a product or system – whether a website, a software application, mobile technology, or any user-operated device.

It is important to realize that usability is not a single, one-dimensional property of a user interface.  Usability is a combination of factors including:

  • Ease of learning – How fast can a user who has never seen the user interface before learn it sufficiently well to accomplish basic tasks?
  • Efficiency of use – Once an experienced user has learned to use the system, how fast can he or she accomplish tasks?
  • Memorability – If a user has used the system before, can he or she remember enough to use it effectively the next time or does the user have to start over again learning everything?
  • Error frequency and severity – How often do users make errors while using the system, how serious are these errors, and how do users recover from these errors?
  • Subjective satisfaction – How much does the user like using the system?
VA websites will…
  • Be browser neutral to the maximum extent possible.  Design, develop, and test websites for a broad range of visitors, including those with lower-end hardware and software capabilities (i.e., browsers that are one version older than the current version).
  • Comply with Executive Order 13166, Improving Access to Services for People with Limited English Proficiency, based on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Web Communications Offices and VA Web Managers must determine if any information on their websites require translation based on the need for such content.  (For VBA, additional guidance is available in the M27-1, Part III, Subpart i, Chapter 2, Section 11, Translation into Other Languages.)


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