Usability Metrics to Track Your UX Team's Success

The very goal of user experience design is to enhance the journey of a customer and solve a specific problem through the product. Come to think of it, satisfaction can vary from one person to another, it’s not straightforward.

More often than not, usability isn’t well understood as most companies don’t allocate significant resources for its measurement. Typically, small businesses or beginners settle for quantitative metrics such as simple questionnaires rather than labor-intensive qualitative methods.

Usability metrics are complex methodologies of KPIs to determine efficiency, effectiveness, and the satisfaction of its users. 

Why Should You Measure Usability?

Qualitative data over quantitative data. To put it simply, usability metrics allow you to see whether there is any room for improvement in the UX design of your product or service. It helps designers and business owners identify areas to focus on for better product positioning. 

Meeting optimal KPIs is part of UX strategy and product design. The conversion rate of your service or product hinges on how it fairs against usability metrics.

By measuring usability, you can see if your product or service meets user needs. If users find usability problems, the product will not perform well. On the other hand, if they find it great, it will perform better in the market. 

Ideally, conducting a usability measurement assessment before you launch your product can give you significant advantages and space to fix any issues. 

Usability Framework

A usability framework is a tool that is focused on the user who will engage with a certain good or service. Establishing this framework is crucial and if a product does not meet one of these, it will not achieve optimal usability. 
The 3 main benchmarks for usability success are:

  • Effectiveness — the precision in functionality and attention to detail of the goal.
  • Efficiency — the resources ran through by users to reach their specific goals.
  • Satisfaction — the subjective sentiments of users on their experience with the product or service. This includes their opinions if they are comfortable with the service or if its relevant to them.

Main Usability Metrics

It's simple to set up usability measurements for your product or service. However, choosing the appropriate measurements to get an accurate result is more difficult. 

You may determine whether you have satisfied the three objectives from the usability framework using these measures. Here are the main usability metrics used by designers to enhance their work:

  1. Task Time
  2. Error Rate
  3. Usability Problems
  4. Completion Rate
  5. Task Satisfaction

Task Time

Task time, as it suggests, measures how efficiently users utilize your products. Task completion time is one of the core metrics that are necessary in order to determine if your product is too complicated or easy to use.

For this metric, designers generally form scenarios or dilemmas the average user faces and then they track the average time they spent using the product. It varies from mins to seconds.

An example of this is how much time a customer spends on digital products. Users tend to spend more time on products that are designed well, intuitive, and engaging. 

If the findings here show shorter time usage than expected, it implies that your product isn’t designed well or engaging enough. if users end up giving up on your product, that mainly means that it failed. 

Error Rate

Don’t you just hate it when you use a product and encounter several problems with it? For example, you’re using an online payment system and your interaction isn’t responding immediately — this is detrimental to user satisfaction.

To measure this, create tasks for users to do and track the number of errors and if there are unintended actions they took. You can categorize errors into different types to help you productively work on solving those pain points.

Usability Problems

To be clear, errors and usability problems are two completely different metrics. This metric primarily emphasizes any trouble or complication that users face throughout the process of using the product or service. 

Usability problems show the frustrations of users in cases of wrong links, misread content, and inaccurately completing tasks. To solve the lapse in this metric, conduct an interview with the users in the testing group to ask them thoroughly about their experience. 

Completion Rate

Next is the completion rate or task success rate, a metric that sees if a user successfully completes a task or fails a task. It’s not only literal though. Indirect success is also measured for completion metrics.

The good rule of thumb for this is when the majority of your new users completed tasks using the design flow you created, the product is a success.

Whenever you’re assessing the completion rate, remember that context is king. You need to be meticulous about what, why, and how the tasks performed — good or bad.

Task Satisfaction

Task satisfaction often dictates the retention rate of the product. The more users are satisfied with your work, the more it’s likely to be used by them again.

Ease of use is often what users gravitate towards. Since products are meant to solve specific problems, no customer really wants to use a design that’s hard to navigate. 

This metric allows designers to get more comprehensive insights and feedback regarding the usability of their work.

A great example of how this is commonly measured is the questions that pop up after completing tasks. This is usually reflected in levels of satisfaction like

  • Very satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Neutral
  • Dissatisfied
  • Very Dissatisfied

Comparing Two UX Designs

Now that you have an understanding of the main usability metrics, the next step in finding out if your product really works is by comparing it to other designs.

Comparing two designs allows you to see differences by giving you an idea of how another product performs. To do this, you can compare the results of your usability test of

  • A redesigned product vs. its previous designs
  • New designs vs similar products you’ve made in the past
  • Or create two designs that can be compared

If the results of your redesigned product are better than its previous design, it means that it was a success. On the other hand, if the previous design performed better, that may mean that you need more user research. 

Be cautious when comparing more than multiple designs. It’s best advised to compare two designs first because it can be difficult to gauge results. 

Summarizing the Results

Improved user experience is always the end result we want to see when conducting usability tests. Your test must have a comprehensive summary of all the insights and measurements you gathered. 

When coming up with a conclusion, designers need to have a clear grasp of the differences and importance of customer satisfaction scores and performance.

Usability Metrics Can Help Track Project Success 

As they say, the customer is always right. Providing great customer experience requires UX research and thorough usability testing.

While it’s crucial, data alone cannot show us what is happening but it gives us an idea of how to best optimize what we put out to the market.

Work with experienced UX professionals and create products that ace UX metrics with flying colors. Here’s a shortlist of the top UX designers to help you with your next project.

Additional reading