During a conversation yesterday with a consultant regarding a intranet project, he told me the basic definition of usability:
The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.
(ISO DIS 9241)
This made me wonder how these rules apply to a Palm PDA and a notebook like a Moleskine diary.
As a Palm user I can safely say that a Palm is effective at what it can do and it is definitely a satisfaction to own and use. But efficiency? Using a Palm, or any PIM software, means that you have to work within a preset system. If you want this system to work as an extension of your mind you'll have to tweak it. Studying the Yahoo Palm GTD group
shows that you need quite a lot of software tools to do GTD on a Palm PDA. And as you add more tools and complexity goes up, effectivity and satisfaction goes down. Procrastination is waiting around the corner.
I think this is what make a notebook so attractive. You don't have to work within a preset system, you MAKE the system
. The notebook becomes an extension of your mind, you can be as systematic and creative as you want. It is both efficient and effective, and if you use a Moleskine
the satisfaction will double.