Usability analysis

What does it do, how is it used? Lets have a look...

A USB flash drive is a small, portable flash memory stick that plugs into a computer’s USB port and functions as a portable hard drive. With a USB drive, data can be stored for long periods of time when the device is unplugged from the computer, or when the computer is powered-down with the drive left in. This makes the USB drive convenient for transferring data between a laptop and a desktop computer, or for personal storage backup needs.

I have began by researching into existing USB flash drives. There is a large variety of shapes and sizes. Some are quite bulky, largely the novelty ones and some are smaller in size. Some of the designs indicate how the USB is carried around and transported. There are USB's with a keyring or lanyard. This is quite useful as the USB is a small object and likely to get lost. I usually carry my USB in a pouch which has a drawstring to tighten it so it doesn't fall out!
I think it is important for the USB to have a cap, to protect the internal drive. Looking at the above mood board, there are a variety of caps including a lid that comes off, retractable chassis and a rotational mechanism which is attched to the USB itself. Some USB's dont have a cap or lid at all- I know some Sandisk USB's dont have one (see below)

Ergonomics-How is it used?  
When the user plugs the device into the USB port, the computer's operating system recognises the device as a removable drive. Most modern operating systems support USB mass storage which means the USB will fit into most computers with a port. Here you can see the USB plugged into a laptop and a computer hard drive. When removed from the computer, the user will carry this around as a piece of hardware which can be used again and again. This can be transported around on a lanyard, keyring, bag, purse etc.
The most common use of flash drives is to transport and store personal files such as:
itunes and MP3 files, photos, documents, zip files, product promotion, videos, homework, business and legal documents.
Advantages of a USB:
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use: plug-and-play device
  • Portable, small
  • Durable
  • Varying storage capacity’s - can hold a large amount of files
  • Compatible with most computer/ laptop which has a USB port
  • fairly fast transfer of data
  • rewritable i.e. you can use it again and again
  • can be connected or removed while the computer is on
  • mechanically very robust
  • have no fragile moving parts
  • can be lost easily
  • can only sustain a number of write and erase cycles before the drive fails
  • may attract a virus and corrupt files
  • low security- if lost, data can be accessed by anyone
  • hardware based encryption can be expensive
  • can be vunerable when exposed to strong magnetic fields
  • larger storage capacity on portable external hard drives, with a faster interface
  • most aren't password protected