Usability or "User-Ability" Requirements

Too often, IT professionals jump from strategy right into implementation without doing the proper due diligence in collecting, analyzing and recording detailed customer requirements.

The ITIL Service Design book defines three levels of requirements: Functional, Management / Operational and Usability. It gives us in-depth descriptions of Functional requirements and Management/Operational requirements but leaves me a bit empty when it comes to Usability requirements. The definition is as follows,

“The primary purpose of usability requirements is to ensure that the
service meets the expectations of its users with regard to its ease of use. To achieve this:
  • Establish performance standards for usability evaluations
  • Define test scenarios for usability test plans and usability testing.
I like to define this as “User-ability”. Service Design (Section 5.1.1) describes this as the ‘look and feel’ needs of the user that facilitates its ease of use. Usability requirements are often seen as a part of Management and Operational requirements. In truth, usability requirements are more about the interface that the customer actually uses to engage the service. Is it intuitive, easy to use, flow from one field another logically? Does this usability enhance the user/customers experience and will it create acceptability by the user community with a minimum of training?

The Service Design book (Section 5.1.3) provides you with a complete laundry list of investigation techniques to determine usability requirements. We will be discussing these techniques in an upcoming Blog.

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