Published by: Tania Dejean
Everyone emphasizes the importance of creating a positive user experience (UX). What exactly does that mean? How can a business measure how good a UX is?
First of all, there is a distinction between user experience and usability. UX directly relates to how a person feels when they interact with a product. Usability, on the other hand, as defined by the Nielsen group, “is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use.” It also refers to the methods for “improving ease-of-use during the design process.”
In other words, quality usability promotes a positive UX overall. Nielsen Norman Group has a great introduction here.
Usability: technical. UX: emotional.
Improving your company’s usability will have a direct impact on your overall UX. There are several factors we can examine to help determine whether usability is considered good; the following key metrics will help you assess the quality of your software usability:
- Task time
- Completion rate/Efficiency
Task time is very important. How long it takes a user to, for example, visit your site and find the Contact Us page, can be a good indication of how good your interface is. If a visitor to a website can’t figure out how to navigate through the pages, it’s usually an indication that the design may not be very good. If it takes users too much time to do what your company would consider a simple task, the UI may need tweaking. How the users feel after completing a task is also important. If the user is frustrated by the time they complete the task, that’s a problem. User frustration shows that the chosen design may not have been have been an intuitive one.
Another way to measure the usability of your software/website is to measure the number of errors that a user encounters navigating through your product. This kind of measuring usually can be done through user studies. Simply put, errors are measured as any unintended action, mistake, and omission that a user makes while attempting to complete a task. This method is usually a bit more time consuming, as it involves sifting through user data.
Another method for measurement is tracking the number of clicks it takes a user to get through a task—something to consider when you’re first designing the interface. The idea behind this technique is simple: Would a user tend to stay on a site that gets them where they want to be with fewer clicks? In what spots are users clicking that you might not want them to click? This component is harder to track, as one would have to be actively observing the user as they navigate through the software or website.
When marketing a product or a service through a website, another way you can measure the usability of your website is through conversion. Conversion rate track whether users who visit the website eventually sign-up or purchase a product. This kind of tracking gives the company an idea of how effective their site is, following the visiting user from start to finish. This is perhaps the most important indicator for effective usability, as more sign-ups and purchases lead to a stronger, more profitable company. Conversions are the sum of other UI assessors, as task, time and number of errors tend to lead to lower conversion rates. If it’s easy for the user to get to the end of your sales cycle, it’s easier for you to make the sale.
UX is important. Knowing how to measure usability is imperative. Every quality component of usability strengthens your UX, overall.