Data is just wind unless it directs your product design sails
No one dreams of being on a vessel lost at sea tossed around by the tide and at the mercy of the wind for direction. Yet all too often we hear about those either “drowning” in user data, or even worse, trying to direct their product design team without a working compass (no data or metrics at all!).
User-centered product metrics should do two things in order be meaningful: evaluate the quality of the user experience, AND help teams measure the impact of UX changes. The former, without the latter, is a recipe for mayday.
It takes a bit of work to figure out how to assess user experience, turn signals into appropriate changes, and set your product design on an improvement course. Having the right tools for the job makes it a whole lot more achievable and what you’ll start to experience is continuous, meaningful product improvement that doesn’t leave customers satisfaction to chance.
Want to learn the ropes? Keep reading...
Finding your direction
Getting an accurate measure on how users are using and interacting with your product and using that to influence future design improvements is foundational to product excellence.
There are a myriad of options out there to help with this, but the compass Osynlig NZ follows is the HEART framework - originally developed by Google to help evaluate quality of the user experience, and help measure the impact of UX changes.
The framework can be applied to a single product feature (for example in your app) or to your whole product.
Lets break H,E,A,R,T down:
**Happiness: ** How do users feel about your product? Happiness is typically measured by user satisfaction surveys, app ratings and reviews, and net promoter score.
Engagement: How often are people coming back to use the product? Engagement can be measured by number of visits per user per week, session length, or a key action, like the number of photos uploaded or songs listened to per user per day.
Adoption: How many people complete the onboarding process and become regular users? Adoption is measured by number of new users over a period of time or percentage of customers using a new feature.
Retention: What percentage of users are returning to the product? Retention is measured by churn.
Task success: Can users achieve their goal or task quickly and easily? Task success is measured by factors like efficiency (how long it takes users to complete the task) effectiveness (percent of tasks completed), and error rate.
How to use the HEART framework
Your next step is to create goals, signals and metrics that relate to the key areas of the framework that you’d like to improve.
Goals ensure your product development team are on the same page in terms of where their effort should be focused. Is it crucial to attract new users? Would you like them to use a particular feature within minutes of sign-up? The goals for each particular new product or feature release could be very different.
Once you’ve set your goals; you’ll need to think about how you’ll know you’ve achieved them. Every goal should have a corresponding user action (or inaction) that indicates success. Those are your ‘signals’.
Metrics (the mainstay of measurement in a traditional sense) are the quantifiable data related to the signal that tell you if your goals are being achieved. Not raw data; not random data - but rather - specific, related data that results in feedback that is immediately actionable.
How it works ‘at sea’
The terminology might sound a little overwhelming - but at sea - it’s simpler than you think!
You might set a goal related to ‘Task Success’ which is that users enable a feature on their first attempt (which involves three steps). Their signal for that might be event logs per user showing all three steps were completed in their first go. The metric to watch out for would be the number of users who completed the steps in the first attempt. If they do - you know your design is hitting the mark. If they don’t - make changes and see if the signals indicate that the change has worked.
The HEART framework is particularly user-friendly as it helps evaluate the same user experience from a variety of different perspectives; is focused on removing irrelevant data; and can help uncover which elements of your product directly relate to increased revenue.
With this level of measurement, you’ll see a direct change as you modify design. Without it, product managers are forced to rely on educated guesses.
Using what you find
It may be as simple as removing or rethinking ignored content, using the terminology used by your users in their feedback, finding out what type of imagery works best for your client persona, or translating common feedback comments into a FAQs section on your website.
Structure and form may need to be turned on its head, or extra noise might need a chop. Distracting elements may be confusing or slowing your user down; or causing unnecessary cognitive load. There may be elements missing that could completely transform the user experience.
Don’t just talk about them, implement them. And make them track-able.
Data is just wind unless it directs your sails. HEART can help you set your rudder and start catching the momentum of relevant use data in your sails. Success is on the horizon for those who navigate this process with skill.
If you are in need of a skilled crew to help you steer your product design decisions, DM me for a chat or keep browsing our website for more information.