3 Severities

The severity of a usability problem is a combination of three factors:

  • The frequency with which the problem occurs:
    • Is it common or rare?

  • The impact of the problem if it occurs:
    • Will it be easy or difficult for the users to overcome?

  • The persistence of the problem:
    • Is it a one-time problem that users can overcome once they know about it?

    • Or, will users repeatedly be bothered by the problem?

Severity Ratings

Severity ratings are used to classify problems. When you classify a problem as one of these levels you need to be able to explain your rationale.

0 = I don’t agree that this is a usability problem at all

1 = Cosmetic problem only: need not be fixed unless extra time is available on project

2 = Minor usability problem: fixing this should be given low priority

3 = Major usability problem: important to fix, so should be given high priority

4 = Usability catastrophe: imperative to fix this before product can be released

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