Measuring User Experience with Usability Metrics
Usability is a user experience attribute that indicates how intuitive and easy to use a website or product is. Measuring usability allows you to learn if users can accomplish their goals with your product or if they encounter issues that you need to fix. Usability is as much related to the ease of use of a website as it is to how it looks and feels. In this context, aesthetics, useful content, and credibility matter too. There are a few ways to measure the usability of your product. You can do a System Usability Survey (SUS), analyze Google Analytics data such as conversions or bounce rates on a live website, or run usability testing with prototypes and record metrics that help you improve the user experience. The advantage of doing usability testing when your product or feature hasn’t yet been released is the ability to detect and fix issues early on. Spending time implementing a faulty design or losing customers over preventable errors can be avoided by running usability testing during the design process. For a long time, measuring usability metrics had been a painful process, mostly done manually by aggregating the data from every task. If you’re a Maze user, you already know that we record and give you these metrics automatically once you finished testing your prototype. In this article, our goal is to go through a list of essential usability metrics and learn why they’re important for the user experience. The value of measuring usability You may ask, ‘Why do I need to record usability metrics when I can just ask my users what they think about the design?’ Simply put, because of the Aesthetic-Usability Effect. This effect occurs when users perceive aesthetically pleasing design as more usable. On these occasions, measuring usability metrics allows you to objectively determine how your design performs as opposed to relying on a subjective understanding of what users say. Additionally, measuring usability has benefits that go beyond what you’d initially expect. It can help you to: Find usability issues that aren’t easy to detect. When you’re knee-deep into a design project, you’re too involved to identify issues that naturally slip when developing a product. Here’s where usability metrics come in. For example, when you run usability testing and record a low success rate for task completion or a high misclick rate on a particular screen—it’s evident that your users are finding it hard to complete their tasks. Such metrics can pinpoint what you need to improve and help you avoid a poor user experience.Track progress between design iterations. Measuring the usability of your design allows you to set goals and track progress when you iterate on an existing feature or product. The metrics are easily comparable: you can see how the feature performed last time, so it’s easier to know if the new design is better or worse.Get buy-in on design decisions. Sometimes arguing your way around your design choices doesn’t help. You want to include a navigation bar, whereas your client or manager doesn’t. When design choices are put to the test and measured with actual data—then arguments become less a matter of preference and more about what’s working or not.3 categories of usability metrics you should track1. Completion metrics Completion metrics track if users can successfully complete a task. Each task can be deemed a success or a “fail,” and in some instances, an indirect success. Note: when we refer to ‘fails’ in usability testing, we mean that the task failed, as we’re testing the design and not the users. Direct Success What it is: A metric that shows…
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