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Design methods in tandem: usability and desirability – Part 2

Desirability and usability as a design team

According to John Soellner’s article “Design, Usability, Desirability, What’s The Difference?” desirability design is “about expanding on the idea of what human factors are” in order to better understand what drives users to employ interfaces based on their interest level and personal satisfaction.  It can be functional and emotional.  Functional desirability is almost interchangeable with usability in that it means users desire to use a site because it is usable and well organized.  Emotional desirability, although related to the subjective satisfaction which is a part of usability, breaks away from usability because it seeks to understand a user’s emotional reaction to the aesthetics of a user interface: the look, feel, and even the content.  Emotional desirability concerns itself with the intangibles and emotional human factors that Soellner refers to above.

Desirability works well in tandem with usability because it measures the intangible aspects of user experience such as fun and enjoyment, aspects that usability itself usually cannot address.  Desirability helps designers discern whether or not their user interface design is enticing enough for users to want to employ, reaching beyond whether or not it is easy and functional enough for users to want to use.  “Desirability design techniques supply the X Factor which motivates users to make usability matter” says Soellner.


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