It’s not always easy to quantify the ways in which enhanced user experience will impact your bottom line. Just sharing metrics with senior management will likely get you blank stares but if you can show them how UX measurement links investment and business outcomes-you’ll be showing that you’re helping move the needle and will likely get the green light on additional investment.
Whether you want to boost adoption and conversion rates or gain more client retention, your metrics are only telling half of the story. You don’t want more data points, and neither does management. You need to know what to fix, make it actionable and explainable. UX measurement helps you understand the why - course correct sooner - and get early reads on how people feel about your site before it impacts your bottom line and fix it, giving you the leg up with management.
Measuring for business goals
In the early days, ease of use was the number one question companies had to ask of themselves when it came to customer usability. But, over time, users have evolved and ease of use is not enough. Answerlab has defined these six questions as being critical items to measure. Here’s how we define UX:
Tailor your UX programs to your business needs. It sounds so simple but many times companies start off on the wrong foot as they haven't identified the UX measures that align with business goals from the start. In order to better define and align your metrics and business goals, ensure they are:
Get granular as broad goals don’t really work. For example a broad goal could be: drive more revenue growth. But a granular goal and something you can actually measure would be: drive 20% more conversion in our product line in the next year.
Here’s a good starter list:
Determine which questions will best answer your business owner's key questions. This will help you align with UX measurements you have available. Then you’ll need the full qualitative and quantitative picture. For example, if you want to learn what users are doing and how many of them are doing it you would need to utilize quantitative research approaches such as:
- Intercept survey
- Behavioral tracking
- Clicksteam analysis
- Card sorting
But these won’t show you the whole picture - you also need qualitative research to decide what to do about the issues your users are having utilizing these approaches:
- Focus groups
- In depth interview
- Diary study
A good UX measurement program will not only ask questions that will uncover issues, but will allow you to understand the impact that these issues will have on business goals.
Finally, identify your cross platform experiences. People today are jumping back and forth between phones, tablets, desktops and engage with your company on a number of different applications. You need to be able to measure across all of those platforms or it’s just a one sided view.
It’s important to remember that the definition of success evolves over the course of even just a year. You should measure multiple times within those 12 months as business goals are always likely to change and sometimes-depending on macro economic issues-stability is the definition of success.
We recommend measuring in 3 ways:
The ongoing pulse: these are continuous measures to monitor the impact of iterative changes and gets you early detection of trends on how your user is feeling. It also provides ongoing research you can compare with other data; however it may not give you diagnostics of what’s wrong. This kind of measurement is meant more to give you a high level view and some direction.
The consistent time interval: this kind of measurement can replace the pulse, setting a timeframe to measure, like a quarterly view for example.
The baseline and retest: You need to set some benchmarks to show progress. Typically targeted to an experience or a prototype, this kind of measurement helps you look at a specific experience, test it, and then retest to see the impact. Also, if you’re making changes to features and functionality, this is good to do on a rolling basis. Benchmarking is needed to have something meaningful to map against your business goals. It shows how far you’ve come. Always compare old prototypes with new ones and retest.
Back to management and gaining stakeholder support. Being able to share and communicate your results on how your UX is delivering on business priorities is what justifies headcount and budget.
Some of the best ways we’ve seen companies do this include:
- Socialize through gatherings and company meetings
- Develop infographics about what was measured so that people can see results more easily at a glance
- Post goals and outcomes of research around the office
- Develop highlight reels for company meetings that showcase key metrics and goals
Also, it’s good to get teams engaged so this isn’t just a UX or marketing function. For example, is your customer support team looking to improve in a certain area such as qualitative and quantitative surveys? Be sure to incorporate questions that matter to those teams and get them engaged in the process of moving the needle.