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An Essential Guide to UX Measurement

5 min read

Written by Toby Biddle

5 August, 2021

UX (User Experience) has a great impact on how long visitors spend on your website and how they engage with it. When people land on your website, they instantly form many impressions that impact their behavior. If they don’t like what they see, or they find the interface confusing or off-putting, they are unlikely to take action or return. In this article, we’ll be covering some key UX variables to help you give your visitors a better experience.

Why You Need to Measure UX

It’s easy to think of UX as an important but vague idea that’s fairly subjective. To some extent, it’s true that each user has a unique experience based on his or her preferences and expectations. However, there are many metrics that allow you to track user experience and make improvements. 

What is UX?

User experience is a broad term covering many areas. Some important UX factors include:

  • Useful and relevant. No matter how good your site looks, it has to fulfill visitors’ needs and expectations. For example, if your content doesn’t match the title and description of the site, you’ll have many frustrated visitors.
  • Appealing design. A site that has visual appeal will be more engaging and encourage visitors to stay longer and return more often. This includes layout, images, fonts, and colors. Having sufficient white space helps you avoid a cluttered look.
  • Navigation. Simple and intuitive navigation is a crucial UX factor. Visitors should be able to easily find what they’re looking for. Menus should be clearly labeled and easy to follow. A breadcrumb approach that provides links back to previous pages helps keep visitors on track.
  • Responsive. Today’s websites need to be accessible to all types of devices and operating systems. Mobile-friendliness is especially important as more people go online using smartphones.

How to Measure UX

There are a number of ways to measure factors relevant to UX.

Keep Tests Relevant to Your Goals

Certain UX factors, such as user-friendly design and navigation, are important to all websites. Others will be specific to your goals and KPIs. You may want visitors to take certain actions, such as dialing a phone number, filling out a form, or buying a product. You’ll want to track metrics related to such actions so you can improve conversions.

Website Factors to Study

Certain metrics and visitor actions provide clues that UX needs to be addressed.

  • Bounce rate. If visitors are landing on a page and quickly leaving, this indicates that they are either not finding what they want or are having certain difficulties.
  • Time on page. This is similar to bounce rate in that you’re measuring how long visitors are spending on certain pages. If they are not spending much time on pages you consider important, such as your blog, About page, or a product description page, you may need to make adjustments.
  • Visitor behavior. Bounce rate and time on page are simple metrics that inform you of visitor behavior. However, it’s even better if you have more detailed data on what people are doing, looking at, and engaging with on your pages. This information lets you pinpoint important UX issues.  A heatmap is a useful tool for observing visitor behavior and determining what is and isn’t working on your site.
  • Shopping cart abandonment. For sites that sell physical products, shopping cart abandonment is a vexing issue. If shoppers are placing items in their cart but leaving before completing a purchase, it suggests a UX issue related to the checkout process.
  • Completed actions. If you have a goal such as getting visitors to sign up for your email list, you can test different landing pages, opt-in forms, and offers.

Polls and Surveys

A simple way to gauge people’s reactions is to ask them. The key here is to isolate features, so you’re clear about what you’re measuring. You can pose questions as yes or no, or ask respondents to pick a value between 1 and 5. You can ask broad but important questions such as, “Did you find what you were looking for today?”  It can also be helpful to create simple A/B tests, such as asking people if they prefer this or that color, layout, or image.

User Tests

A user test lets you measure various UX factors. Keep tests simple and focused, as you don’t want to overwhelm participants with long and arduous tests. Limit tests to around 10 to 15 simple tasks or a handful of more time-consuming tasks. You can measure a variety of factors.

  • Time. You can observe how long it takes for a customer to find a piece of information, complete a checkout process, submit a support ticket, or any other task you want to measure.
  • Success rate. Track how successful participants are at completing tasks.
  • Errors. Measure the number and type of errors made while working on tasks.
  • User preferences. You can create A/B tests that ask users if they prefer a certain layout, button, or any feature you want to test.

Aside from measuring time and accuracy, you can ask participants to rank how easy or difficult they found the task. It’s worth noting that users’ subjective reactions are just as important as objective results. For example, if most users successfully complete a task in one minute, this may sound good to you. However, if the majority regarded the process as difficult or complex, this means many actual visitors are likely to abandon the task. You may need to reduce the completion time to 30 seconds.

Interpreting and Acting on Data

Improving UX requires an ongoing process of testing and experimenting. If you notice an issue such as a high bounce rate or frequent shopping cart abandonment, the cause may not be immediately apparent. You can only test different variables and see if you notice an improvement. Similarly, if user surveys indicate that a process is too difficult, you’ll have to test alternatives.

Quantify and Upgrade Your UX

When you can measure something, it’s easier to set goals and make improvements. When you identify metrics involved with user experience, you can identify areas that need work. UX is both an art and a science. While you can and should track relevant metrics, you have to be flexible and ready to consider multiple solutions. Even small changes such as modifying a color or making a form slightly larger or smaller can impact results. The more consistently you track UX factors, the more you’ll be able to deliver an exceptional experience to your visitors and customers.

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