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August 23, 2022

The Pros and Cons of 5 Important User Experience Metrics

How many user experience metrics are you tracking? And are you using the right metric at the right time? From NPS to CSAT, SUPR-Q to SUS, there are countless acronyms to keep track of, and it can be difficult to know which to select when. Each has their pros and each has their cons. And, in your research program, one or more of these could be helpful as you’re looking to build out measurement.

Not sure where to start? No worries. We’re going to walk you through why you should track user experience metrics, how to leverage UX metrics to demonstrate research impact, and the pros and cons of 5 frequently used metrics. Understanding the benefits and limitations of each helps focus your measurement of research impact and guide your projects (as well as stakeholder investment!).

Why and How Should You Track Metrics as a UX Researcher?

Metrics: you aren’t sure where to start, and there’s often a perception that tracking metrics is time-consuming and difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. The key is tracking the right metrics at the right time.

To make sure you’re tapping into the numbers that matter think about these questions:

  • What is your use case? Is it for continuous benchmarking? Measuring strategic initiatives? A specific action?

  • When should I think about applying these metrics? Are you looking at them on a quarterly basis? After releasing a specific feature?

  • Where will I capture these metrics? Will it be in-product or email? Time-based or behavior-triggered?

  • Who will use these metrics and when? Are these metrics to guide the product team on whether UXR-informed changes are working? Or are these metrics demonstrating customer happiness to the customer success or executive team?

5 Important User Experience Metrics to Consider

These five metrics are targeted at understanding the user experience, specifically targeting usability and ease of use. They have scales that have been extensively tested and validated to ensure their measurement is reliable. In addition, it’s possible to benchmark scores against your own product or industry averages.

1. SUPR-Q (Standardized User Experience Percentile Rank Questionnaire)

TL;DR: SUPR-Q is a user experience questionnaire measuring a site’s overall performance against 4 key factors: usability, trust and credibility, appearance, and loyalty. It also addresses both usability and general satisfaction.

  • Great for ongoing benchmarking

  • Good to use before and/or after major redesigns

When to Use It

  • As level setting on a quarterly basis before you start your roadmap or annual planning

  • To provide insight into weak areas where you need to iterate and improve

  • If you are the first researcher and you want to get an overall handle on the UX to figure out where to dig in and focus your efforts in a strategic way

  • For a holistic view of the customer experience which provides all possible data points so you can analyze where the UX is both weak and strong, and use that data to guide strategy

  • Compare before and after of strategic projects like a website or brand redesign

Pros

  • Captures many aspects of the user experience

  • A comprehensive measurement

  • Reliable and valid

Cons

  • Eight questions can be a lot, especially if asking in-product

  • Provides a broad measure of the experience, but not specific enough to tell you exactly what to fix

[5 UX metrics]_blog_ [image 1]

View more SUPR-Q questions here.

2. SUS (System Usability Scale)

TL;DR: SUS is among the most commonly used metrics to measure perceptions of usability of products and features, and is often used as a double-check to validate other research.

  • Great for ongoing benchmarking

  • Administer after completing tasks in a usability test session

When to Use It

  • On-going benchmarking of the overall user experience

  • To measure specific feature launches

Pros

  • Can be easily benchmarked — the average score is 68 so you can understand quickly the overall usability of your site or a particular experience without paying for benchmarked data

Cons

  • The wording of questions isn’t completely clear for users

  • It doesn’t cover things like trust and value

  • 10 questions can be a lot for users to complete

[5 UX metrics]_blog_ [image 2]

View more SUS questions here.

3. CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score)

TL;DR: CSAT understands the value customers are getting by measuring customer satisfaction. It’s basic but it works and is particularly helpful for assessing customer service. It’s measured on a 100 point scale.

  • Great for ongoing benchmarking

  • Can be applied to lots of different aspects of the experience and still maintain consistency of measurement

When to Use It

  • You want the simplest, do everything metric — are you satisfied or not?

  • To get an understanding of the customer experience in general

Pros

  • Easy and intuitive

  • Easy to interpret

Cons

  • Not specific to usability

  • If asked broadly, can be hard to pin down specific barriers

[5 UX metrics]_blog_ [image 3]

View more CSAT questions here.

4. NPS (Net Promoter Score)

TL;DR: NPS measures a customer’s loyalty and enthusiasm, and how likely they are to recommend a product or feature. With scores ranging from 0 to 10, responses are seen as Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8), or Detractors (0-6).

  • Can be a valuable tool for focusing an organization around the customer

  • Helpful in strategic conversations looking at overall customer happiness and loyalty

When to Use It

  • On-going tracking of the user experience

  • Asking active users if they would recommend your product to others

  • Looking for buy-in

Pros

  • Widely recognized in the corporate world, and executives and boards love it, which gets you buy-in from leadership

  • Easy to benchmark against industry averages

  • It’s straightforward and easy to understand

Cons

[5 UX metrics]_blog_ [image 4]

View more NPS questions here.

5. UX-Lite

TL;DR: UX-Lite is a simple two-item survey that asks users whether they found a product or feature to be useful and usable. It uses a 5- or 7-point scale to determine whether users agree or disagree.

  • Good for simple evaluation of customer experience

  • Lets you quickly get a high level overview of how users are responding to features

When to Use It

  • If you’re rolling out a new product or you launched something new, use this to get initial reactions and identify opportunities to make quick changes/improvements

  • If you know you’re going to make changes to a certain part of the experience, use it to benchmark and see what improvements can be rolled in

  • For on-going tracking

Pros

  • Great for in-product survey

  • Low lift to launch

Cons

  • Limited scope of insights

  • Very high level

[5 UX metrics]_blog_ [image 5]

Learn how to simply evaluate the user experience here.

Create Your Own Metric with a Few Guidelines

Not every metric is going to be a fit for every project, but you should have these five metrics in your back pocket. In other instances, you may want to create your own metric to more specifically measure the things that are important and specific to your business.

To figure out which user experience metric is right for you or whether you need to create your own, first ask yourself, what exactly am I trying to measure?

Next, you need to make the survey feel relevant to the user, and tie it to your product team’s goals, as well as the goals of the business at large. If a user doesn’t understand why they’re taking a survey, they won’t do it. And if a product manager or business partner doesn’t see the metric relating to their end goals, they won’t care to use the results.

Closing Thoughts on Metrics

Tracking metrics can sound intimidating, but these five tried-and-true user experience metrics show they don’t have to be. There are pros and cons to each and understanding those (or at least having a blog post that you can refer back to 😉) helps you select the right metric at the right time to validate your research findings and demonstrate impact.

Quantifying qualitative sentiment helps you better understand the user experience across the entire user base, set benchmarks, and help you understand where to allocate research investment next.

At Sprig, we empower product teams and researchers with easy-to-use in-product surveys and set up research programs that are data-driven. Want to learn more? Try Sprig for free or book a call with our team today to learn more.

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