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Usability Standards - How to Use International Usability Standards

Usability Standards - How to Use International Usability Standards

We believe that usability standards, especially international usability standards, are the key to delivering quality products, systems and services and provide valuable tools for promoting best practice.

Our expertise 

For over twenty five years our Executive Chairman, Tom Stewart, has chaired one of the key international standards committees on usability standards in information technology ISO/TC159/SC4 Ergonomics of Human System Interaction.  He has been instrumental in developing the ISO 9241 series, one of the most influential standards in usability and ergonomics.

Why use international usability standards? 

Usability standards are a vital tool for designers who want to create usable products.  Few organisations can afford to ignore them. In Europe, and many other parts of the world, compliance with relevant standards is a mandatory requirement in major contracts.

Usability standards, especially international usability standards:

  • promote a consistent user interface by providing a consistent reference across design teams or across time
  • provide definitive, authoritative widely agreed statements of good practice
  • place user experience issues squarely on the corporate agenda
  • help organisations meet their legal requirements under disability and health and safety legislation.

Need to find out more? 

In the following series of articles, Tom provides a comprehensive overview of usability standards and how to get the best from them.

Developments in usability standards:

Exciting Times for Human Centred Design standards
The updated human centred design standard ISO 9241-210 was published in 2010 and is now available to buy online.

Three accessibility and web design standards ISO 9241 parts 20, 151 and 171
An overview of these important standards.

The basics:

The structure of ISO 9241 "Ergonomics of human-system interaction"
An overview of ISO 9241 introducing the way the standard is structured and the general areas it covers.

How to use usability standards (and how to buy them)
A detailed look at the individual parts of the usability standards, who should be using them and what they cover, including links to allow you to buy your own copies of the usability standards.

Some background:

How ISO develops international standards
An understanding of the development process, its strengths and limitations, to help you use the standards more effectively.

The history of usability standard ISO 9241
Tom's personal, light-hearted view of 25 years work chairing the committee responsible for this usability standard.

By Tom Stewart

Find out more

For friendly advice on how we can help:

Phone +44 (0)20 7240 3388


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System Concepts Ltd is a company registered in England, number 205 5814. Our registered office is 2 Savoy Court, Strand, London WC2R 0EZ.