Recently, we posed a question to our Twitter followers and our UX Designers here at Usabilla:
We received quite a few responses, but one answer really stood out: UX professionals struggle to prove the value of their work within their organization. This is an interesting challenge. How do UX professionals measure and determine the success of their work? How can they begin to determine what aspects of UX design are measurable and how do they go about doing so?
Google has developed two very effective methods, whereby you can define:
- The quality of user experience (the HEART Framework)
- The goals of your product or project (the Goals-Signals-Metrics Process)
Determining UX Quality with HEART
HEART is a unique UX Framework created by Google. HEART consists of 5 pillars that help you to measure the quality of your UX work and define specific metrics. These include; Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Task Success. As every product and target audience is different, you should include the pillars that are most important for your particular project.
This pillar measures user attitudes regarding your product or a specific feature of your product. You can implement a user feedback solution, like Usabilla, in order to roll out surveys and measure elements like user satisfaction, perceived ease of use, and your net promoter score (NPS).
This pillar is used to measure the depth of a user’s involvement with your product. It can vary based on your product, specific features, or even your business objectives.
For example, engagement can be determined by considering the frequency of use per user. It can also be measured by elements like the number of visits per user per week, or even the number of tasks the user completes in your product. It can also be measured by the number of times they share your product on social media networks.
Here you measure the number of new users or the usage of a certain feature. This can be determined by factors such as new customer purchases or new subscriptions to your service.
Adoption can go a little deeper than the engagement pillar. This is because adoption can also be measured by the percentage of existing users upgrading to the latest version of your product. This demonstrates both a deeper level of engagement but also the faithful adoption of what you offer.
Retention can be determined by examining the number of users remaining active over a period of time. Retention is an interesting pillar as it can be looked at in two ways.
First, the rate at which existing users are coming back to your product. Second, the number of people failing to return to your product. The failure to retain is known as “churn”.
Google mentions that in the retention aspect of HEART, it is more valuable to consider the number of users you are failing to retain. Depending on your business, you can also examine renewal rates (or lack thereof) as well as repeat purchases if you work in the e-commerce space.
This pillar concerns areas of your product that require users to enter a workflow in order to complete a task. This can be measured using three factors; efficiency, effectiveness, and error rate.
Efficiency can be measured by the amount of time it takes a user to complete a task. Effectiveness is measured by the percentage of tasks completed. Error Rate can be determined by unsuccessful actions or uncompleted tasks. For example, if a user enters a search query but fails to open any results because they cannot find what they are looking for.
The Goals-Signals-Metrics Process
We have now identified a framework for determining your product objectives and measuring the quality of your UX work. Next, you should choose the pillars that are relative to your specific product and then you can start outlining goals, signals, and metrics.
These are the ultimate ends that you hope to achieve with your product or product features. Goals are at a higher level in this evaluative process and need to be determined before even looking into the HEART framework. They are to be determined collectively amongst your team and must be concise in nature. Identifying these goals first will help identify your metrics.
Signals are essentially the factors that will signify failure or success of your determined goals. You can choose your signals based on which pillars of HEART you are primarily concerned with. For example, if your feature is intended to increase engagement and retention, then your signals should correspond to those pillars. Signals manifest within user behavior and help you identify whether or not you have achieved your goals. At this stage, you should also define your method of data collection (e.g. surveys or event logs).
In this final step, you translate your signals into metrics that can be tracked over time and, in some cases, used to compare with other products. These metrics will allow you to determine if you have achieved your goals. When defining your metrics, use fractions or percentage rates instead of raw data. Finally, make sure that all user actions are logged and that traffic from automated sources are not being measured.
Usabilla Case Study | Applying the Framework
We actually used this framework when we launched our two-step verification feature for our users. In order to determine and measure the success of the feature, we outlined the following Goals, Signals and Metrics and aligned them with the HEART pillars that were relevant for this feature. We were primarily concerned with customer happiness, feature adoption, retention and task success.
For further information on these frameworks, check out this great links from Kerry Rodden and James Jesse Garett. Or, if you’d like to know more about the ways Usabilla can help prove the value of your UX work then don’t hesitate to get in touch!