Learnability vs usabiity

design
usability
#1

Here’s an interesting topic that came up in work recently.

We build a lot of things for the .GOV platform which means things must be very learnable and usable by everyone, first time. This can mean slightly longer interactions; the .GOV framework doesn’t lend itself well to expert users who will find the various ways of doing things slow.

This is the trade-off between something that’s highly learnable but not usable once it’s learned.

A project I’ve recently worked on focuses more on building around the expert use case since we know the system will be used many times; using the highly learnable .GOV framework will not work and will likely slow expert users down.

We’ve sacrificed some learnability in order to make it much more usable

Just sharing a few thoughts.

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#2

Interesting challenge – and also one that we face in designing this product. New users are used to traditional forum platforms so Discourse can be a bit of a surprise and you need some support. Once you’ve used it for a while that support would become annoying.

We handle this using Trust Levels and sandboxes. Brand new users (TL0) can choose to go through a learning tutorial, can only complete limited functions and get a lot of just-in-time messaging. As they move up through the TL ranks they are granted more functionality and the messaging goes away.

Could you do something similar?

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#3

No. We’re limited by development time.

So it’s content.

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