How can I measure the success of my UX designs? UX Question #27

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Natasha from Turkana asks: how can I measure the success of my UX designs?

I love that question. Thanks for asking, Natasha. This is UX Question number 27 and I am Ben Judy.

How can I measure the success of my UX designs? Well, you can always do what we call a heuristic evaluation. This is just using a list of UX principles and doing an expert review of the product design. Using your best judgement, how well does the design seem to adhere to those rules of thumb?

But if you want a more rigorous, data-backed approach, what you need is a measurement framework that can help you evaluate your product user experience qualitatively and/or quantitatively.

A good framework will help you clearly identify what aspects of the user experience are important to you, and how you intend to capture data, measure, and report on those aspects.

Some things you might want to measure include: task success rate and completion time. Engagement metrics. Retention and conversion rates. User or customer satisfaction.

How you measure these things might include tools like analytics software, or research methods like moderated or unmoderated usability studies, direct observation, interviews, and surveys.

I’ll drop links in the description to some of the more common UX measurement frameworks.

I have used the HEART framework with great success. HEART stands for Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Task Success. The simple brilliance of this framework is that you establish Goals, Signals, and Metrics for each of those categories. It’s a very flexible and powerful framework.

The System Usability Scale or SUS is a less comprehensive framework. The name might be kinda SUS—get it? SUS? But it is a tried-and-true approach for measuring usability.

You can actually use this in concert with the HEART framework. Administering surveys with the System Usability Scale can be one of the Signals you use for the Happiness and Task Success portions, the “H” and “T” of HEART.

One thing that might surprise people who aren’t familiar with UX is how difficult it actually is to arrive at anything resembling and objective measurement of a good user experience. It’s not an exact science by any means.

Forget about UX, even determining the level of usability of software design is always going to be context dependent. Whatever measurement framework you use must take into consideration the tasks being done, the background and experience of the user who is performing those tasks, and the environment in which it is being done.

It can get complicated. But my advice is to start with simple frameworks like HEART or SUS. I find that those two cover much of the landscape of UX measurement needs.

Keep asking your questions about UX. Next time, I’ll answer the question: What is affinity mapping?

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