User Experience

Usability vs User Experience | Are Usability And UX The Same?

Manoj Rana
May 3, 2024
min read
Usability vs User Experience | Are Usability And UX The Same?
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”Pay attention to what users do, not what they say.” - Jakob Nielson.

When we discuss building a product, the need to meet customer requirements comes into the picture. One of the primary things you need to focus on to meet customer requirements is user experience or UX.

The user experience of a product entails several aspects, such as 

How easy to use is it?

It’s features



And more! When all these aspects are on point, your product is successful. I have witnessed that when we talk about UX, many often confuse usability with UX. They are not the same. Briefly speaking, usability is a subset of UX.

Let’s dive into this blog and unravel the meaning and differences between usability and user experience.

Table of contents
Table Link

What is Usability?

Usability is the aspect that defines how easy it is for the user to use or navigate to the product. It clearly highlights every step that the user takes to achieve their goal while using an app or website.

For example, how simple it is for a user to subscribe to a subscription or complete the purchase process.

Usability testing is undertaken to determine a product's usability, where a researcher or a moderator provides the user with a bunch of tasks to perform.

While the user engages or interacts with the product, the researcher observes the way the user performs the task, including different aspects like difficulty, motivation, learning, and ease of use.

The formulation of these observations helps in understanding the entire effectiveness and efficiency of the product. Usability testing also provides insight into user satisfaction.

Here, I have elaborated on some primary aspects of usability!

Usability aspects
  • Ease of use

As said in the basic definition, usability is all about how easy the product is to use.

  • Learnability

To enhance usability, the product should be easy to understand so that one learns how to use it in the first attempt.

  • Efficiency

Just related to learnability, efficiency is about how quickly a user can perform a function in the app without any delay or difficulty.

  • Error tolerance

Error tolerance in usability is about what errors the users face while operating the app and how it affects the user experience.

  • Memorability

Memorability defines the ease of using the product when the user uses it after a long time.

Why is Usability Necessary?

“If you want to create a great product, you have to start by understanding the people who will use it.” - Don Norman. 

The saying is correct, and here is an interesting fact to support it! Approximately 50% of consumers or users refuse to buy products from a brand if their mobile site is poorly designed.

Being a part of UX, usability holds the utmost importance in the app or mobile site development process.

The Goal of Usability!

The primary aim of usability is to comprehend how the users are interacting with your website or app. This allows you to make changes based on the results.

Here is how usability can help in bringing back users to your website or app!

Error Recognition

The goal of employing usability is error detection. With usability testing, you can observe the user performing the task and check for stages where the user faces errors. Thereby conveying the same to the UX design team for product modifications.

Better User Interface of UI

Usability can help you identify potential obstructions in the user interface. It can be in the information architecture, the button placement structure, or other UI elements. With these insights in mind, you can improve the user interface.

Enhances App Usage Speed

With every user interface element properly placed, users can easily find them and complete their tasks quickly. These tasks can be ordering a product or making a payment.

Unravelling User Experience

User experience, also known as the UX, elaborates the overall interactions and perceptions of a user with respect to a product. In contrast to usability, user experience encapsulates the feelings of the audience before, during, and after using the product.

Clearly, it is not an easy ride for anybody. It is a never-ending process that includes researching, planning, testing, and refining at every touch point of the user journey.

Learn About Enhancing Customer Journey By Improving UX!

User testing is an integral part of the entire user journey. It is performed at each stage to know how the user is feeling about the product.User experience can be assessed using several methods.

  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Usability testing
  • A/B testing

If you want to assess the user experience of the product, here are some of the common questions!

  1. What do you like about our product?
  2. How would you rate the product's UI?
  3. Have you used a similar product before?
  4. Would you buy our product again?
  5. Would you recommend this product to your friends?

Based on the answers of the users to these queries, you can comprehend the user experience.

The Goal of User Experience!

The primary goal of user experience is to assess how the users feel before, during, and after using the product. Based on the overall analysis, user-centered design products can be built for long-lasting positive brand impressions.

Crucial Elements of User Experience!

UX Elements

As I said before, usability is just one part of the user experience. Good user experience is composed of several aspects. Let me help you unravel those aspects!

  • Usability (as a core component)

Usability is a component of user experience that elaborates on how easy it is for users to use the product. A comprehensive user research is carried out to to assess usability.

  • User needs and goals (Usefulness)

After usability, the product should be of particular utility to the users, or it should solve a problem. Furthermore, it should fulfil some practical goals.

  • User emotions and satisfaction (Desirability)

Besides powerful functionality, the user experience is also enhanced by the look and feel of the product. For example, an interactive UI design and seamless navigation of a website or app evoke positive human emotions and promote satisfaction.

  • Branding

When the user's overall experience is good, it helps build the brand experience, too. Users tend to gain interest in the products made by the brand.

Relationship Between Usability and UX!

I get this question frequently: Which product should I go for, the one that provides a better user experience or the usable one?

This question does not have a perfect answer to it. Usability and User experience are interdependent. If a product is easy to use and does not have an interactive user interface design, it will not garner new customers for you.

In the same way, if the product has an interactive user interface along with remarkable features but is not easy to use, it may not get the required attention.

Therefore, both usability and user experience go hand-in-hand. A product that a user can easily use and has the required features and looks makes it functional, credible, and more desirable.

Here is another surprising fact! 48% of website visitors consider a website's design as a critical factor when evaluating a brand's credibility.

What's The Difference Between Usability and User Experience?

Usability and user experience can be distinguished based on numerous factors. Here, I have filtered them in a tabular form.

Comparison FactorUser ExperienceUsability
Basic DefinitionUser experience involves ensuring that customers or users feel positive and content with the product before, during, and after they use it.
It can be a website, an app, or a physical product.
Usability is the measure of how easy it is to use the product.
GoalTo create user-centered products for lasting brand impression.To assess the ease of use of the product, i.e., an app or website.
MethodsThere are a plethora of methods to know about user experience.
Focus groups
Usability testing
A/B testing
You can find out about your product’s usability va methods like
Phone or video interviews.
Guerilla Testing
Screen recording
InterdependencyUser experience is not entirely dependent on usability, but it plays a sufficient role in it.Usability is a part of the user experience that decides the fate of the product to some extent.

Examples of Usability vs User Experience!

To help you understand better, I have listed some examples of usability and user experience.

  1. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a chat application that has a brilliant user interface. While you can easily access chats, the distribution and placement of all the necessary features like status updates, communities, calls, and archived chats are well managed in minimum space.

Besides, the menu, camera, and magnifying glass icon on the top right ease the use of added functionalities. Overall, the application usage is easy, can be learned quickly, and fulfills all the user requirements in a minimum time.

One drawback of the app is seen while you delete the message. While the message gets deleted, it still leaves a small box saying, ”This message is deleted,” which somehow defeats the purpose of UX by leaving a trail.

  1. Apple Mouse

Apple Magic Mouse is a revolutionary product. It has the required brand image, aesthetics, functionality, and desirability of the users. However, there is a major drawback that significantly affects the user experience.

While the mouse can be used easily, when it has to recharge, you cannot use it because the charging port is under the mouse. This washes away the aspect of user experience.

  1. Duolingo

Duolingo is an exceptional platform for learning several languages. The application provides a super interactive user interface that has all the elements placed in a great hierarchy.

The one thing that enhances the usability, interaction design, and user experience design of the application is the onboarding process.

The frictionless method includes only three questions that the users have to answer. After that, users can start learning with a dedicated goal.


Both usability and user experience form the foundation of the product's success and future business goals. However, a lot of hardwork goes into assessing the usability and user experience. You may have to conduct multiple interviews, take surveys, conduct screen testing, monitor recordings, and other user activities to get the required insights.

Seems overwhelming, right? Well, it will not be with the right tools!

To perform comprehensive user research about usability and user experience, you can rely on the Qwary suite of resources. Click here to get in touch!


  1. What ISO defines usability?

The ISO/IEC 9241-11 defines usability. It describes the extent to which a specified user can use a product to achieve specific goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction.

  1. What are the 5 components of usability?

The five primary components of usability are learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors, and satisfaction.