Advancing the Useful, Usable, Desireable Framework

Forrester Research frequently advocates for their usability framework of useful, usable and ultimately desirable. The first two are table stakes and where designers spend most of their effort. When there is the luxury of time, which almost never happens, then one can strive for that elusive territory of desirability. If users find your design desirable you stand a greater chance of increasing conversion, garnering repeat visits and earning customer loyalty.

Forrester Framework (left) My Modifications (right)

Surfing on led me to a presentation that took this concept even further. Essentially the author moved from a classic pyramid to a honeycomb design and added some critical elements to the model. These include, valuable, findabe, credible and accessible. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t favorite the slide show and so I can’t reference the author or link to the actual presentation. My apologies to the person who created this really helpful PowerPoint. Here’s how it was illustrated in the presentation.

A Honeycomb Approach to Usability

This concept advances the Forrester model by giving designers and customer experience professionals more dimensions to consider. When I provide direction to my staff and agency, I encourage them to include desirable as a goal from the very beginning, vs. settling for useful and usable and then tackling desirable as a “fast follower.” Oftentimes there’s no time for a fast follower, so getting in as much as possible is very important. Some of these additional attributes found in the honeycomb model above are clearly more structural or work to support reputation, not necessarily spawned from pure usability needs. But they are real aspects users will weigh as they navigate a web site or attempt to use functionality, so accounting and designing for these will be a plus.

This one slide has caused me expand my thinking and build out my checklist. If anyone knows who authored this, please chime in so I can give proper credit.

2 thoughts on “Advancing the Useful, Usable, Desireable Framework”

  1. The honeycomb idea comes from Peter Morville.

    The problem, for me, is these attributes have no scalar values. When does something transition from undesirable to desirable? Can you measure the transition?

    If not, how do you help your staff understand when they’ve achieved the objectives you’ve set out? (And how do you help them understand what to do when they haven’t?)


    1. Jared,
      Thanks for providing me with Morville’s name. It’s not pretty, this getting old thing (memory loss). You raise some great points as usual and I really can’t disagree. We recently struck the mother of all desirability with the recent release of our Spend Analyzer. I have never seen this much excitement and overwhelming approval from a set of customers for a mass market brand in a long time. Bottom line is they are saying they will use our product more. Clearly we hit on all the cells of Morville’s honeycomb.

      My experience with you and your firm is you are very focused on getting to the bottom of what that “something” is so it can be repeated. I think that we now have something we can use as a target as we set out on developing more functionality. Hope you are well.


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