Usability Quotes

I’ve collected a few usability quotes that I like to use in presentations and such. Here are a few of them:

The functions in software should be joined hand-in-hand with user needs:

 “Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” – Frank Lloyd Wright


When defining requirements, think about quality. Usability is a measure of quality.

 “If you don’t care about quality, you can meet any other requirement.” – Gerald M. Weinberg


Sometimes we get excited about technology and want to try it out to satisfy our own curiousity. But we should keep in mind what the user’s goals are:

“It is far better to adapt the technology to the user than to force the user to adapt to the technology.” – Larry Marine

When you’re rushed to get that software or product released, remember:

“The joy of an early release lasts but a short time. The bitterness of an unusable system lasts for years.” – Anonymous


I’ve often heard people talk about how much usability costs, but how much does UN-usability cost?

“Inadequate use of usability engineering methods in software development projects have been estimated to cost the US economy about $30 billion per year in lost productivity.” – Jakob Nielsen


To be most effective, usability methods should be applied early on (and often) throughout the lifecycle of the product. Why?

“You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledge hammer on the construction site.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

“It’s better to design the user experience than rectify it. It’s the difference between a cathedral and the Winchester House.” – Jon Meads

“Coding is long. Design is short. Paper is cheap.” – Anonymous


This goes hand in hand with this blog’s tagline and one of my all-time favorite quotes: “If the user can’t use it, it doesn’t work.”

“If there’s a ‘trick’ to it, the UI is broken.” – Douglas Anderson


And a longer one, but well worth repeating:

“Questions about whether design is necessary or affordable are quite beside the point: design is inevitable. The alternative to good design is bad design, not no design at all.

Everyone makes design decisions all the time without realizing it …good design is simply the result of making these decisions consciously, at the right stage, and in consultation with others as the need arise.”

– Douglas Martin (Book Design)

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3 Responses to “Usability Quotes”


  1. 1 Cliff August 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Great stuff! I’ll add a couple of these to my collection (http://quotableusability.blogspot.com/)

  2. 2 Pure Logic Edmonton February 28, 2014 at 1:05 am

    Thank you so much! That was outstanding 🙂


  1. 1 Usability Quotes « (dis)information architecture Trackback on December 16, 2007 at 10:58 am

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