It’s not always easy to quantify the ways in which enhanced user experience impacts your bottom line. Simply sharing metrics with senior management will likely get you blank stares, but if you can show the connections between UX 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 improve customer 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, and make it actionable and easy to understand. UX measurement helps you understand the why behind the data, course correct sooner, and get early feedback on how people feel about your site before it impacts your bottom line. If you can fix it, it'll give you a leg up with management. Here’s how.
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. As the digital world becomes more crowded, users have higher expectations across products and industries. 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 simple, but often companies start on the wrong foot without having identified the UX measure that align with their business goals from the start. To better define and align your metrics and business goals, ensure they are:
Broad goals don't work as well, so get granular! 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 stakeholder's key questions. This will help you align with the 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, including:
- Intercept surveys
- Behavioral tracking
- Clickstream analysis
- Card sorting
But these won’t show you the whole picture - you also need qualitative research to determine the why and outline next steps for solving the issues your users are having. Consider:
- Focus groups
- In depth interviews
- Diary studies
A good UX measurement program will not only ask questions that 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 devices and engage with your company in a variety of interfaces from phones to tablets to desktops. 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 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 provide you with early detection of trends on how users are feeling. Ongoing research allows you to compare over time, and while it may not give you diagnostics of what's wrong, it can 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 on 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.
Being able to share and communicate your results and show that UX is delivering on business priorities is critical for justifying headcount and budget.
Some of the best ways we’ve seen companies do this include:
- Socializing results through workshops and company meetings
- Developing infographics about what was measured so people can interpret results at a glance
- Posting goals and outcomes of research around your office or virtually on communication tools like Slack
- Developing highlight reels for company meetings that showcase key metrics and goals
It's good to get teams and stakeholders engaged with your work. Improving customer experience 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.