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When developing an application, companies need to understand whether they are achieving their business goals. And one of the best ways to measure the app’s success, including the efficiency of its design, is to implement KPIs. With corresponding UX metrics, designers can track the progress and effectiveness of their work, and improve their user experience strategy. So, what are UX KPIs and how can they help improve a digital product? Let’s have a look.
What are (UX) KPIs?
KPIs (key performance indicators) are quantitative performance indicators that are used to evaluate employee performance against their strategic goals. In the field of UX design, KPIs are used to track the progress and success of design activities. UX KPIs can cover design usability, brand recognition, brand loyalty, and user experience analysis.
Designers can implement UX KPIs for the following:
- to track user experience;
- to compare their design against the competition;
- to collect user feedback;
- to optimize the UX strategy.
Why should you measure UX KPIs?
According to Intechnic UX, companies that improve their UX design report up to 83% improvement in their KPIs in terms of increased conversions. This statistic proves that data-based UX design decisions are much more effective than the ones based on guesswork.
The main reasons why companies implement UX KPIs are:
- To track progress over time: KPIs help designers understand whether their UX strategy is working and whether it’s time to make any changes;
- To identify problem areas: UX KPIs help identify possible problems in specific areas. This helps determine what the company needs to change to improve the user experience;
- Analyze and compare the data: the analysis of the right KPIs can help you compare your design performance to the competition and implement needed changes;
If designers rely on the wrong UX KPIs, they will make inappropriate decisions that may lead to customer churn, negative brand image, and reduced conversions. Therefore, it is important to define relevant UX KPIs for your brand and implement them depending on the type of your project and business goals. We’ll talk about how to select the suitable KPIs a bit later and for now, let’s take a look at the core UX KPIs metrics.
Behavioral and attitudinal UX metrics explained
UX metrics are a set of quantitative metrics that help analyze and monitor the user experience and user interaction with an app over time. Examples of these UX metrics are user satisfaction, user engagement, and loyalty. There are two main types of UX metrics: behavioral and attitudinal UX KPIs.
Behavioral UX metrics
Behavioral UX KPIs (what users do) represent how users interact with your product or service and what problems they encounter on their way. Most behavioral UX metrics have to do with the app’s usability (its ease of use). Good usability is an important part of UX because when users can’t complete a task, they may quickly switch to an alternative solution.
Key behavioral UX KPIs include:
- Task success rate;
- Time on task;
- Search vs. Navigation;
- User error rate;
- Misclich rate;
- Conversion rate.
Attitudinal UX metrics
Attitudinal UX KPIs (what users say) measure how a user feels about a product or service. Attitudinal metrics include customer satisfaction, loyalty, trust, and convenience of app use.
Key attitudinal UX KPIs include:
- System Usability Scale (SUS);
- Customer Effort Score (CES);
- Net Promoter Score (NPS);
- Customer Satisfaction Score (SCAT);
- Standardized User Experience Percentile Rank Questionnaire.
Understanding what certain UX KPIs do and how to measure them is the key to developing a successful UX strategy. While there are many UX KPIs that you can consider, we suggest focusing on the key ones and on the ways of tracking them.
Task success rate
The task success rate metric measures how successful a user was in performing or completing a task. This KPI shows the percentage of customers who completed a particular task (i.e. completing a profile or filling in their billing information) and helps identify usability issues.
How it is measured:
The task success rate can be calculated by using a formula: a number of correctly completed tasks / the total amount of time spent on completing the task. For example, if a designer measures the success of tasks A and B and the rates are 70% and 80%, then the overall success rate of the task is (70+80)/2= 75%. The more respondents there are, the more accurate the success rate is. Also, consider whether this is the first time the user has completed the task so you can monitor how the user experience changes over time.
Time on task
Task completion time is a metric that describes the time it takes to complete a task. The shorter the task completion time is, the better the user experience is. Longer time can mean that users have trouble finding what they need on the page, that they got lost in the user flow, or that they don’t understand how to use a product.
How it is measured:
There are different ways to measure time on task, depending on the evaluation method and the type of project. The most common method is by using this formula: Time on task = average time spent on task / total time spent on tasks.
The context in which this metric is written is important. While user navigation may be smooth, the KPI may show a low score. In this case, it would mean the user did not understand the task. Hence, rephrasing the question may yield better results. Note that if the goal of a designer is user retention, a longer task time may actually be helpful.
User error rate
The user error rate is a metric that determines how many times a user makes an error when performing a task. Examples of errors are clicking on a non-clickable element, entering the data in the wrong fields, or opening the wrong page. The user error rate metric allows designers to understand the main pain points and eliminate them.
How it is measured:
There are two common ways to calculate the error rate: if a task has one or more potential errors and you want to track only one of them, then you need to measure the average error rate. If you want to measure multiple errors, you can calculate the error rate by using the following method:
- The average error rate = the number of errors that occurred/ the number of error opportunities;
- Error rate = a total number of correct errors for all users/a total number of errors for all users.
User errors can show how user-friendly your site or product is. A high user error rate indicates poor user interaction with the product (i.e. confusion or misunderstanding of how to use it).
System Usability Scale (SUS)
System Usability Scale (SUS) is a standardized metric for measuring usability and perception of an application. The SUS questionnaire consists of 10 questions in which users can answer each question by using a five-point scale, from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree. SUS measures efficiency (whether users’ goals are reached), effectiveness (how much effort is spent on goal achievement) and satisfaction (how satisfied the user is).
How it is measured:
The results of the SUS form can be calculated by using the following structure: each response is assigned a score from 1 to 5 SUS points to build a table for each user:
- translate the scale into numbers, e.g., “strongly disagree” corresponds to 1;
- For questions with odd numbers, subtract 1 (x);
- For questions with odd numbers, subtract 5 (y).
- Add (x+y) and multiply by 2.5.
SUS gives a score between 0 and 100. A SUS score above 68 indicates high product usability, and a score below 68 indicates there might be a design problem. Designers can also use this metric to compare two different designs with a quick A/B test or to compare their product with the previous version.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer loyalty to a brand. NPS is calculated by using a survey consisting of a single question: “How likely are you to recommend a company/product/service?” With continuous and periodic Net Promoter Score measurement, UX designers can track users’ perceptions of the brand for better management of customer experience.
How it is measured:
Calculate the NPS by using the answer to the key question on a scale from 0 to 10. After that, users who responded to the question are grouped as follows:
- Promoters (score 9-10): users who will continue to buy and recommend others;
- Passive (score 7-8): satisfied users who are vulnerable to competitive offers;
- Detractors (score 0 to 6): disgruntled users with negative reviews.
Net Promoter Score equals a percentage of detractors minus a percentage of promoters. The percentage response can range from a minimum score of -100 (every customer is a critic) to a maximum score of 100 (every customer is a promoter).
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
The Customer Satisfaction Assessments (CSAT) is a metric that measures customer satisfaction with a company’s product or service. Companies can survey customers at any point during their journey to get an idea of how satisfied they are with the brand. A customer score is formed from several options, such as:
- Numerical scores ( 1 to 3, 5 or 10);
- Verbal indicators from 1 to 5 ( dissatisfied, unsatisfied, neutral, satisfied and very satisfied);
- International symbols (i.e. emoticons).
The CSAT is a “here and now” metric that refers to a specific experience, not an ongoing relationship with customers. Even though UX designers can repeatedly solicit feedback from loyal customers, it’s not recommended to overwhelm them with requests for feedback, as this can trigger a negative experience.
How it is measured:
Designers collect feedback through a customer satisfaction survey and can calculate the CSAT in two ways. The first way is to calculate the average customer satisfaction score for your brand. The other way is to calculate the percentage of customers who consider themselves satisfied (4-5 points) by using the formula: (the total number of satisfied customers (4 and 5 points) / number of survey responses )x 100 = % satisfied customers (SCAT).
What UX metrics to choose for a project?
There is no universal set of indicators suitable for every project since every project is unique. Hence, it is necessary to choose performance indicators by following the product development strategy. Because many UX KPIs are interrelated, improving one KPI can make another KPI worse and vice versa. By choosing the right KPI, UX designers can analyze and track their design decisions.
With UX KPIs, designers can collect high user ratings during users’ interaction with a brand, but that doesn’t mean that users will recommend this product or that users are happy enough. It is important to supplement each of these UX metrics with other performance metrics for more accurate results. For example, a KPI such as NPS (Net Promoter Score) can be combined with a Task success rate or Time on task. The choice of the right UX KPIs and understanding of their interactions with other metrics can give UX designers an accurate picture of how their UX product is performing and what can be improved.