There’s an old usability experiment called the alarm clock test, where kids are given four different alarm clocks and race each other in teams to set the time.

If you stand back and watch, you’ll see the kids going through a range of struggles and experiments to get each one set, and the completion times will vary greatly.

We often attempt to use technology and say to ourselves ‘I’m not smart enough to get this to work’. This is a key example of why usability is so important; it’s not you, it’s that the alarm clock hasn’t been made to be usable.

We live in a world where the vast majority of devices and technology aren’t built around usability, they’re built around technology capability. Apple are a great example of a company that refuses to be part of that. 3 year olds can use iPads, some better than some adults! But it’s not because they’re ‘born into technology’ – iPads aren’t in our genes. It’s that the device they’re using is built to be intuitive and usable before anything else.

For us, ‘technology capability’ often equates to ‘business needs’, and becomes so important that we forget the user. We prioritise what we want to communicate and disregard whether the user needs to know, or even cares.

When your building sites and creating communications, put usability first. Make what your saying on a need to know basis, get to the point and answer questions that you’d expect