Getting your digital experiences right is critical, especially as customers’ digital behaviors are changing rapidly and they’re leaning even more on digital channels to connect with the brands they love. As many of our clients begin to plan their CX strategy for next year, we’ve heard many questions about the value of UX measurement and how to do it effectively.
Why should you measure your user experience?
There’s little doubt that the customer experience matters to the bottom line. But understanding the impact of the many digital interactions that lead to business results is a complex undertaking. When the data indicates there are problems with your digital performance, it can be difficult to isolate what’s causing them without effective UX measurement.
To have a real impact on digital experiences that drives business results, UX measurement must yield insights that feed a road map for innovation and change. These are the six fundamental elements of a successful UX measurement program:
1. Translate business goals and values into UX measures
This sounds obvious, but many businesses don’t explicitly articulate how UX can contribute to business objectives. Think about what metrics will help show your value to the business and begin viewing them through that lens. What are your stakeholders’ KPIs and performance goals? Consider how you can align your UX initiatives with those.
For example, if your business objective is “to drive more conversions in a specific product line,” you can measure UX features that relate more directly to conversions. Aligning these activities can show business impact and value.
2. Don't overlook cross-platform experiences
Customers will experience your brand or digital products on various platforms in different ways, and will behave differently. Your UX research program should always be considering how your customers interact with your brand on mobile, tablet, desktop, or through voice and chatbots. Your program also must be able to measure the impact of UX changes across devices and platforms, since users jump between these devices so rapidly.
3. Benchmark and monitor key metrics
By the time UX issues start negatively affecting your business, it’s not easy to step back and figure out what went wrong and how to reverse it. It’s far better to establish thresholds for performance that will spur your UX team to take action.
Ongoing UX measurement and benchmarking acts as an early warning system, allowing the business to control any damaging effects of market forces. For example, a sharp increase in shopping cart abandonment could trigger an alert to the UX team, which can use measurement to determine the “why” behind that sudden change in user behavior.
User experience is far more complex and nuanced than it used to be when it was synonymous with “usability.” Of course your product needs to be usable, but being “easy to use” is only one part of the equation. If it’s not helpful, inclusive, engaging, or if it doesn’t fit seamlessly into someone’s life and needs, it won’t be a truly complete experience your customers love. Keep an eye on all of your important metrics - not just usability, but also engagement, delight, performance, and task success.
4. Prepare to ask what, how, and why using mixed methods approaches
It’s always a good idea to learn what users are doing and how many of them are doing it with quantitative approaches that will help you gauge the scope of any issues. These help you keep a pulse on what’s working well and what needs attention.
To understand the why behind these actions and what you can do to improve, qualitative research (e.g. in-depth interviews, exploratory research, or usability studies) is your best bet. We recommend building in a regular research program to ensure you’re getting qualitative insights on a consistent rather than ad hoc basis. By having a set schedule, you create ongoing qualitative research opportunities your team can take advantage of easily. And, it holds product teams accountable to have new designs and products ready to test regularly.
Applying both quantitative and qualitative research - the mixed methods approach - gives you the full breadth and depth you need to assess the problem at hand.
5. Be consistent with your measurement
Knowing when to measure can be just as important as what to measure. Some approaches we work with are ongoing pulse (continuous, iterative testing), consistent time intervals (such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly testing), and pre/post (before and after a redesign or other major UX change). You likely know what works best for your business needs, and we’re always happy to make a recommendation.
6. Understand how UX measures fit into your performance data portfolio
There isn’t one single data source that will tell you exactly what you need to know and what to do about it. And there will be stakeholders in your organization who rely on other indicators of digital performance. Become familiar with whatever data you have available, from business intelligence metrics like engagement and conversion rate to site performance like unique visitors or session duration. Be ready to explain how UX fits into this performance data.
Measuring your user experience is the key to understanding its business impact.
In this resource from the AnswerLab team, you’ll discover how to:
- Demonstrate the value of your UX initiatives to top executives
- Make the case for UX measurement across your organization
- Build or refine your UX measurement program using 6 key elements defined by team
- Integrate UX successfully into every step of the product development lifecycle