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System Fundamentals[1]

In software engineering, usability is the degree to which a software can be used by specified consumers to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a quantified context of use [2].

Any discussion of usability must include the idea of ergonomics and accessibility.

Do I understand this?[edit]

You should be able to close your eyes and recite from memory this idea of usable and usability. However, I hope you take a moment to think more deeply about this idea. From this article, we learn usability might be decomposed into:

The definition of usability in the ISO 9241 standard is:

"The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use"[3]

This definition can be expanded, and made more comprehensive, by including five characteristics which must be met for the users of a product:

  • Effective
  • Efficient
  • Engaging
  • Error Tolerant
  • Easy to Learn


  • Define the term usability.