Ease of use, or usability, is one of the most common software requirements found in customized programs. However, it is also one of the most difficult requirements to apply in a functional way that is agreed upon by all parties. This is because the perception of usability can vary drastically from one individual to another. The last thing you want is to get in a heated argument over how usable a software program is after a considerable amount of time and effort has been put into its development, and you certainly do not want to be disappointed by the functionality of your finished product. By specifically identifying your ease of use requirements up-front, you can minimize the risk of running into this challenge with your software development efforts.
Define Who the User Is
One of the most significant challenges related to ease of use in software requirements relates to defining what is easy. The perception of usability between a technically skilled individual and a non-technically skilled individual varies, so identifying who the user is and what their skill set is can help your developer to more easily create a program that meets all of your expectations for usability.
Understand the Difference Between Ease of Learning and Ease of Use
In many instances, a program can become easier to use after the user has been properly educated on the program’s functionality. With most programs, there is at least some training required. However, some programs have a very steep learning curve and may only be easy to use only after many long days or weeks of training on the program. This may not be what you had in mind when you included ease of use in the program requirements. Therefore, specify your software requirements for ease of learning and ease of use separately.
Specify Exact Functionality
A great way to define exactly what you expect of the program with regards to usability is to specify functionality. For example, if you want the software program to be used for a specific purpose, you can define the exact steps that you want the user to take to complete the task. It can take extra time and effort to be this specific when developing software requirements, but your effort in this area will ensure that your finished program meets your expectations.
Ease of use is important in many custom software programs, and this ultimately can facilitate the use of the program and speed up the completion of defined tasks. Rather than simply state that the program should be easy to use, you can be more specific in this area to clear up any gray area and to get the exact program that you desire.