user experience

On the Consistency of Quick-UX

user-useitMany websites can be seen to interchangeably, simultaneously, and (seemingly) randomly, use ‘signin’ and ‘sign-in’, ‘log in’ and ‘login’, along with various combinations of ‘signout’, ‘sign-out’, ‘logout’, and ‘log out’, sometimes with these variants all on the exact same page! Maybe the language and position vary depending on visual representation (textual or graphical), or maybe it just varies. This is inconsistency and is very confusing to the user.

Inconsistency, or poor consistency, damages the basic Usability of the product. Consistency, when done well, bolsters the User Experience, and reduces the learning overhead of terminology and interface elements. If something is always presented the same way, expressed the same way, then the user only has to learn it once; rather than learn all the useless variants it may have. Sound Consistency of language and interaction lowers the bar to responding affirmatively to the question…

Can I use it?

Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). In answering the question of Usability, "Can I use it?" the sub-category of Consistency often does not get the attention it deserves, in turn leading to more confusing, more frustrating, less Usable products.

Evaluation of Consistency covers the assessment of recurrent expectations as they are impacted and shaped by the product’s content (or wording), interfaces, and layout. Expectations that result from the type of web product and its market (inter-product, rather than intra-product) have greater impact on the Recognition variable.

The Consistency variable’s rubric is:

The determining of the value for the Consistency variable is done through the brief surveying of the product, and assigning a…

  • 1 if there are no apparent inconsistencies,
  • 0.5 if only minor, non-intrusive inconsistencies are found,
  • 0 if there exist inconsistencies on major element(s) or a majority of minor elements. Inconsistencies on major elements lead to immediate confusion and second guessing information being conveyed.

Over the next several weeks I will be providing real-world examples of Consistency values…

No Apparent Inconsistencies (value 1)

Minor Inconsistencies (value 0.5)

Significant Inconsistencies (value 0)

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring the Usability and Consistency of Quick-UX, the quick and easy method of generating quantifiable and comparable metrics representing the understanding of the overall User Experience of a product, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.


Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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