Investing in Usability: Testing versus Training

Boxes and Arrows: “Assume that you are in charge of a development project and you have about $10,000 to spend on usability. What would you do? What is the best way to use the money? What will make the project a success? What is the right thing to do for the organization? What will be best for customers?

This line of questioning is important because it makes you think about how money should be invested in usability. It gives you a chance to think about what you really value. It forces you to think about usability as a process and a set of tools, as something that must be balanced against other business needs. Unfortunately, most people are too worried about getting money for usability in the first place, but not worried enough about how to spend that money once they get it.

In my experience, usability professionals use their budgets to run usability studies. That is, when given money, they immediately start setting up usability programs to solve particular problems. This shouldn’t surprise anyone because many usability professionals think the value of usability is derived entirely from the results produced through usability tests.

Most people think usability is synonymous with usability testing. It isn’t, and this misconception frustrates me.”

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