Usability Separates Top Performing Health Club Software from the Rest

June 25, 2012

“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.” International Organization of Standardization ISO

We may not include the word usability in our everyday discussions but the concept of the word is a factor in nearly every product we use – or don’t use.  The success of any product in our world is absolutely dependent upon its usability.

It stands to reason, then, that the usability of health club software is what truly determines not only if you will select it – but if you will continue to use it.  Your club may have the latest and greatest health club software package available in terms of features offered – but if the usability isn’t there – any set of benefits can become rather irrelevant.

So what are the elements of usability that you should be looking for when selecting or choosing to retain your health club software?

Usability consultant Jakob Nielsen and computer science professor Ben Shneiderman offer a simple litmus test for usability which can provide an ideal framework:

1. Learnability – How easy is it for users to perform tasks the first time they encounter the design?

This is probably the most important feature of any software, especially in an environment as dynamic as a health club. The dynamic nature of any club demands that new employees get up-to-speed as quickly as possible – especially on the software being used to manage day-to-day operations.

2. Efficiency – Once users understand the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?

Any health club manager can appreciate this aspect. All you have to do is hang out at the front desk on a Saturday morning in January and you can see that efficiency is the one thing you can’t do without.

3. Memorability – How easy is it for users to perform tasks proficiently after they’ve been away from the design?

Multi-tasking is the name of the game when running a health club.  Employees need to jump in and perform a variety of jobs to keep the club running smoothly. The best health and fitness club software needs to fit into such a fast-paced environment seamlessly – especially if we are discussing a club with multiple locations.

4. Error Manageability – How many do users tend to make and how quickly can they recover?

The viability of your club relies upon an information flow that is consistent and readable across all channels — whether that’s your inventory data, employee management, scheduling or member services. Your software has to operate efficiently at all times.

5. Satisfaction Achievability – How pleasant is it to use the design?

The satisfaction surrounding health club software is dependent upon its ease of use and its level of performance. When operations are humming along, everyone from member to employee to manager is happy.

Usability shouldn’t be a happy coincidence. It should be a reliable part of your health club processes – and it should be especially ingrained into your software package. Your operations depend upon it.

To learn more about the capabilities of health club management software we offer, request a demo from ABC Financial.