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How to track design metrics?


Metrics, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as they are also known, are a measure of performance or impact. They are used to illustrate the effectiveness of achieving set targets.

It may be seen creative teams refrain from setting metrics or KPIs due to their work’s intangible and subjective nature. Traditionally, designers have stayed away from being measured through a set of metrics. Design team managers can also veer into frustration if the KPIs are set as per the other departments in the business or if immediate impact is expected. Even if there are constraints to measuring functional effectiveness, it is important to measure its impact on the business’s bottom line.

As the design function scales, it will be crucial that businesses will demand impact & accountability. So, what specific KPIs should be tracked to measure creative performance?

As with most design-related things, the response to this is — that it depends on the context. For example, the KPIs for an internal design team at a Fortune 500 company working on UI enhancements for their in-house application will differ vastly from those with the UX team working at an up-and-coming design agency working on a meditation app prototype.

Benchmarks or metrics used to determine the design team’s operational progress can mean different things, depending on the designed product and the team type. While specific metrics are bound to vary, there are these common core areas to get started –

Business-oriented metrics

1. AARRR framework (aka Startup Pirate Metrics) – AARRR enables you to measure and optimize every phase of your customer funnel by optimizing it through an insane focus on one metric at a time. The AARRR framework helps people measure every step of the customer journey and identify leaks and potential loopholes.

The five phases of AARRR

2. Customer Experience Index (CX Index)Unlike User Experience (UX) that focuses on the interaction between users and a particular product, Customer Experience (CX) looks into all touchpoints of a brand (both physical and digital) to measure customer loyalty and how it affects the company’s revenue.

CX Index score has become one of the leading CX benchmarks in the business consulting world. The index includes the six aspects (see the graph below) and two key indicators: customer satisfaction (CSAT) and the net promoter score (NPS). The higher your CX index score, the more you can win and retain customers. 

forrester CX quality

Experience-oriented metrics

3. Google’s HEART framework – The HEART framework aims at measuring user experience on a large scale with the following five categories:
1. Happiness: How do people feel about your product? (E.g., Use the survey to track Satisfaction and Ease of use)
2. Engagement: How are people using your product? (E.g., # of 7-day active users, # users starts a new search per day)
3. Adoption: New users (E.g., # of accounts created in the last seven days)
4. Retention: Existing users (E.g., % of users who use the feature again)
5. Task Success: Complete actions (E.g., # of users who can accomplish a task)

4. System Usability Scale (SUS) – The system Usability Scale provides a “quick and dirty” way to assess the usability of a system. It includes ten items in a questionnaire, and users respond with a Likert scale (Strongly disagree to agree strongly) for each question:

  • I would like to use this system frequently.
  • I found the system unnecessarily complex.
  • I thought the system was easy to use.
  • I think that I would need the support of a technical person to use this system.
  • I found the various functions in this system were well integrated.
  • I thought there was too much inconsistency in this system.
  • I would imagine that most people would learn to use this system quickly.
  • I found the system very cumbersome to use.
  • I felt very confident using the system.
  • I needed to learn many things before going with this system.

Cubyts framework to measure Impact

For a metric to be helpful, it must have :

  • A timescale
  • A benchmark
  • A reason to be reported
  • An associated action

Four steps to calculate design ROI:

Step 1: Business Goals – Business goals are specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound. Defining target business goals allows identifying metrics to measure success.

Step 2: Design Outcomes – Design Outcomes are the user behaviors that drive business results. When teams are working with well-defined outcomes, tracking progress becomes simpler — they can review their progress towards the outcomes they’re seeking and look at a concrete measure: are users’ behaviors changing?

Step 3: Measurable CX/UX/ Business metrics – CX/UX metrics are quantitative data points set to measure, compare, and track the user experience of a product or service.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) reflect your business’s overall goals, such as revenue growth, retention, or increased user numbers. Metrics are all the measurements that go towards quantifying these higher goals.

To measure your impact, you’ll need to collect your UX metric through a benchmarking study — before and after your design change.

Tracking Design Metrics - Continuous Design and Evaluation