4 Ways to Measure UX and When to Use Them

by | Jun 9, 2023 | User Experience

Forget “how many?”; ask “why?”

Contrary to popular belief, size matters – especially when measuring user experience (UX). Thing is, UX can be annoying to measure because it’s subjective.

For example, hipster Cole may think your restaurant’s steaks are terrible, but Elisa loves them. Mind you, Cole is vegan (obviously) and Elisa is on a ketogenic diet.

This is why it’s critical to know exactly who you’re marketing to and then decide whether or not to cater to others. Then, once you’ve decided to keep the plant-based products away from your “meatery”, you can measure performance or success.

Alas, another set of caveats: You need not be vegan or vegetarian to dislike red meat. And, although scary, some people prefer to eat their fillet steaks well done. What if it’s not? Well, you have what we call a “UX problem”.

All jokes on a skewer, UX metrics are critical to measuring how people engage with your products, services, website and business. What’s more, these users aren’t only customers – they may be anyone who interacts with your business.

Here’s a brief overview of how we define UX metrics and KPIs:


UX metrics vs KPIs

Remember in biology class when you learned about the left and right brain? The left brain is mainly responsible for tasks that require logic, rationality, and calculations, while the right brain is the fun aunt that’s artistic, creative and spontaneous.

In this scenario, KPIs are the left brain: measuring and monitoring business progress in numbers, and metrics are the right brain: measuring users’ behaviours and attitudes toward your products, services and platforms.

Although KPI information is important for data such as revenue per user (RPU), average order value (AOV), and cost per install (CPI), you don’t really have a lot to go on in terms of enhancing the experience. KPIs are like the mayday sergeants who tell you there’s a problem, but not what the problem is.

UX metrics, on the other hand, are more about determining user satisfaction, engagement and loyalty, and these, in turn, give you a better idea of where you’re going right or wrong. But again, they’re subjective.


It boils down to usability

There are four primary elements of product or service usability:

  1. The user: The person you’re creating the product or service for
  2. The job: What the product or service is designed to solve or do
  3. The context: The intended use cases for the product or service
  4. The satisfaction: How functional and easy the product or service is to use, buy or hire

Let’s put that in a sentence, shall we?

Usability is the extent to which a service or product helps users to complete a job or achieve a goal in any given scenario, as well as their experience of your business.

Remember, you can’t just measure the number of people using your products – because they may have had a terrible experience but been desperate to get the job done. That’s why qualitative UX metrics are critical. You can use them to refine your products and services to improve UX.


How to measure UX

Before you get your ruler out, ask yourself:

  • Which metrics am I measuring?
  • Am I using qualitative and quantitative metrics?
  • What is the timeframe for data collection and analysis?

Right, it’s measuring time. Let’s say you’re the owner of a nursery. You sell flowers, fruit and veg plants, pots, trees, and everything landscaping both on-site and online. Your prices are average – not too expensive, but not cheap – and you offer above-average quality and service…

1. Success rate

Task success rate is one of the most widely used and understood metrics, used to show the percentage of users who complete a task successfully. This includes signing up, adding something to a shopping cart or, in your case, if people find and buy the gardening products they were looking for. To get a task success rate, divide the number of successful attempts by the total number of attempts.

Remember, while you’re measuring the success rate, you won’t know why it’s successful or unsuccessful. In other words, you’ll know that 76% of customers bought your products, but you won’t get why they did or why the other 24% didn’t.

When to measure the success rate

Success rate can help you and your web designers, for example, to identify UX issues within specific goals. For example, what is the number of (physical and online) carts left behind, compared with those that lead to successful transactions?

2. Completion rate

The time it takes two users to complete a task may differ, but the general aim is to ensure that both users spend as little time as possible doing so.

For example, you wouldn’t make 75-year-old Lucinda carry her own cycad to the till, would you? Even worse, don’t make her look for the cycads, pick a random one by herself, and then load it onto the wagon without help. It could take Lucinda five years and a double bypass to carry that tree. Bad UX.

Instead, you want a few customer service and gardening gurus dotted in obvious places, to help customers and suppliers at the drop of a hat.

When to measure the completion rate

When you want to identify:

  • Those who actually complete a task
  • The average time it takes to give up or complete the task incorrectly (like dropping or ditching the cycad)
  • The average time users spend on a task, regardless of success

3. Retention rate

Retention rate measures the number of users who continue using a product or service over time. But to know this, you must first define what “use” means.

Is it:

  • buying a plant or three?
  • buying a plant now and returning for a pot and more plants later?
  • recommending you to other people?
  • regularly visiting your website?
  • regularly buying something from your website or shop?
  • regularly asking for gardening advice?
  • coming to you for all plant and gardening needs?
  • caring for and admiring plants bought from your nursery or website?

Remember, retention doesn’t exist if people aren’t satisfied after the purchase. If a user regularly buys from you and the plants die within a week, they won’t blame their poor plant parenting but rather the quality of your plants or support services.

When to measure retention rate

This metric is gold when it comes to identifying the extent of user loyalty. You’ll likely use it to determine how successful your UX is, based on how many users return to your shop or website because they enjoy the experience and products.

4. User engagement

How often do people touch and admire your pots and plants? Engagement metrics show whether customers get what they expect from your products and services.

This is usually easier to measure online because you can analyse clicks, taps, views, comments, shares, likes, etc. If you want physical metrics for your nursery, you can stalk customers from behind a lemon tree – or check out the metrics from your website, social media pages and Google reviews.

When to measure user engagement

Very frequently. If you care about how people perceive your product or service, how often they interact with it, and how likely they are to use it repeatedly, you need to measure engagement often enough to fix any problems before they grow.


UX is everything and more

Whatever, whenever, and however you do something in your business should go directly into the user experience folder. You’re not measuring your success; you’re measuring the success of your users’ experience after buying from you. And although the results are mainly subjective, they’ll give you invaluable direction.

Who’s got the time, resources and energy to measure UX? We do! Let’s talk.

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