Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Usability and Islam

A website or software with poor usability will frustrate users. Some may be angered to the point of spewing expletives and destroying near by objects. I wonder how many istighfar were required due to bad usability.

A poor usability has also been identified as a factor that led to poor take up or usage of a software. At work, the UI for continuous assessment marks has much to be desired. The difficulty to use the system had caused considerable delay and unnecessary stress for course instructors. Some were not able to customise the course assessments by the deadline given.

Usability is also important to reduce errors. I wonder how many marks were keyed in wrongly as a result of poor UI. In the list of students, there is a glaring infirmation missing: the list number! It should be a basic thing to include in a list. When it is not there, the task of entering the marks requires more time - to check the name without a number shortcut. I usually write the marks on a printed class list and then transfer the marks to the CAM system. When doing that,  reading "Nur Fitriyana Syuhada binti Mohammad Syukur Azlan" is longer than "6", right? And, when there is "Nur Fitrizana Shuhada binti Mohamad Shukur Azlan" in the list, it gets more confusing.  Numbers in a sequential list is easier to discriminate.

The task is especially difficult when I want to check a specific student i  the list. I have to scroll down the list by reading the names or (the longer) matric number instead of locating the respective listing number.

Can we say then that usability is an Islamic requirement for websites and software (especially those meant for the public)? In other words, designing usability into software/website is an Islamic duty, right?

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