How does one measure UX?
Over the past two months, I have been reading, learning, talking, and thinking about the HEART Framework and how we can use this to better improve the user experience for both consumers and attorneys who use Avvo.com. The white paper [link] from the Google Research team themselves was a good starting point to understand how they were using it on their products, and what measures benefited more than others.
Often times working in a tech org, especially one with a start-up mindset, we are often looking at business or technology metrics such as page views, up-time, revenue, etc. While these metrics can give us some insight into experience, but it doesn't provide product design professionals with the clear indicators for how their UI decisions are making an impact. For example, we can presume that people don't have a good experience when the site takes an ungodly amount of time to load, but how can we determine whether one way of selecting a flight vs another is actually better for the user in a way that is specific and measurable?
This is where a few folks on the Google Research Team came together with their findings supporting everything from YouTube to Google Finance in understanding how people are engaging. What they have provided are essentially five categories for which to help frame the conversation of how to measure user experience, which is abbreviated as HEART.
What HEART stands for is:
- Task Success
By using these categories, design professionals can step back and be specific with the goal(s) we want the user to achieve, and then identify the signal to which it will be measured.
Using the flight example, perhaps "task success" can be when the user is able to select the flight times they are looking to travel, and the signal used to measure that will be when they select at least one result. Ok great, so then as we iterate and make changes to the flight selector, does the click on at least one result go up or down?
What this does is back away from looking at clickthru rate (which is still important, but more so for the product owner) and now focuses the designer to examine the experience. Did we change something that affected the experience? Or perhaps the time of day chosen by the user doesn't actually have any flights to choose from, which means the task wasn't so successful, and how can we continue to hold that users hand, so to speak.
Being a user experience designer is all about striving for the best.
This can be seen in data-driven design as well where the data of the product is compared in different interfaces so as to ascertain the competence. Good metrics are required to track the progress and see where the product is going.
So, how are we using the HEART framework at Avvo.com?
We have identified that there are essentially three broad steps that are necessary for success:
Have a strong UX Researcher who can facilitate the conversation with your product design leads (usually a product owner, lead developer, and lead designer, but can be a little more broad)
Have a solid way of tracking the signals across the site/product. If you are using Google Analytics, ensure that the proper tags are set up and parameters are able to be passed through. Work with your data team on this. They will love the partnership too.
Dashboard Dashboard Dashboard. Ensure that the metrics are being displayed on a shared view (usually a TV in the office) so that you don't risk the information being silo'd and have shared ownership of the user experience across the team.
Keep in mind, measuring user experience is not easy, but having a framework to guide the conversation is a really helpful way to start engaging the conversation.
Are you using HEART Framework in your org?
Image source: https://www.ida.cl/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/HEART-framework-655x470.png