Usability Metrics

All of your UI and UX efforts come down to one point: You wish people would fall in love with your solution from the first glance. Well, this effect is achievable. And is simpler that it looks.

There is but one lesson to master – people demand simplicity. Let’s think of your software like it’s a house. All of us love to live in houses. And our homes are (in general) fine just the way they are. No significant changes were made in decades.

What do we need from a decent house? A roof that does not leak, a door so we may enter and some windows, letting the sunlight in. That’s pretty much it.

Go, rectangle team!

Let’s imagine one homebuilding business has chosen to become more creative than others. “Hey, we’ll have a one-of-a-kind offer, we will stand out!” – creatives said. And, considering where things are going in today’s world, such a business should succeed. But will it?

Numerous researchers may point out that triangle doors are more efficient, look better, are stylish and fancy, and create whatever else cool effect. But the question is – would you live in a house with triangle doors? In fact, none but a handful of brave enthusiasts would appreciate living in such conditions.

If these few people are your target audience – feel free to let all Hell loose! But if not (which is the case in 99% of software projects) – you are to stick with properly placed rectangle doorways.

They are simple in use.

They are what we are used to.

Rectangle doors are the very essence of both UI and UX.

Fortunately, we all understand the value of common sense and simplicity. Or, at least we think we do. And, considering your own projects will always be understandable to you and the team responsible for development – it is necessary to ensure users get what your software is about as well.

How can tests measure love?

Great software is a combination of two factors. It is useful, meaning it solves some challenges that users face, and it is simple and comfortable enough to be convenient. Everything else is just glitter and spices. They fancy the product up a bit, yet are essentially irrelevant.

More to that point – too much spice can ruin a dish completely. Let’s return to our primary analogy. Too many windows, even if they are perfectly shaped and flawless in use can make it too cold inside. Too many doors might let unwanted guests in. Lots of hallways will leave people confused, disoriented and lost. Finding the balance is tricky. Yet, it’s essential.

Tricky does not mean impossible, though. All it takes to measure whether your solution’s lovable are some decent metrics of usability. Measurable, qualitative and quantitative data you can actually work with tops presumptions and suggestions every time. Here’s how you can get just that kind of data:

  • Let’s settle the basics. There is one metric that is the simplest of all, yet relevant nonetheless. Fundamental, even. We are talking completion rates now. All is plain and easy. If users succeed with a task, that’s one point. If they fail – zero. The magic of this approach comes with the following: If a user cannot achieve his goal within your solution, does anything else even matter?

Test true depth of love and satisfaction!

Although the first metric is a great primary means, your project will require more depth. Why? Because even if your user succeeds with a task, there are several other important factors. Factors like whether the process was enjoyable, not too long or extremely demanding, etc.

This is exactly when other metrics and measurements step in.

  • Task Time: This metric is aimed at evaluating productivity and efficiency. Simply record how long the road from point A to point B takes. The less, the better, obviously.
  • Issue Probability: This metric evaluates the severity of possible flaws and the importance of fixing such scenarios. All people from your target audience are different. If one person finds your app difficult to use – it’s bad. If half of them do, you have probably created a nightmare. And if all of them do – consider starting all over from scratch.
  • Level of Satisfaction: This one’s easy. Are people satisfied with your solution? Is it the scratch to their itch?
  • Clarity: If users want results from your application, are they taking the appropriate path? The least challenging one? In simple words – are users doing what you have expected them to?
  • Search or Navigation: One greater metric that visualizes clarity lies in the following data: measure if users prefer search over navigation. And are they satisfied with the path that was chosen?

The One Tip above all!

Measuring usability is an essential step of development. It’s basically a must have in the lifecycle of any project. However, finding out something is wrong post factum may be devastating, even lethal. This is where the #1 tip comes from: UI and UX must be considered from the beginning!

Create your software with users in mind.

Make it as plain and simple for them as possible.

From the beginning!

Only an experienced team of developers may assist you here. People who have seen projects rise and fall into pits of despair. Professionals who have done the impossible, fixed the unfixable and are prepared for things one cannot be prepared for.

That’s it. As simple as that. The following series of simple tips and advice from of experience will transform your software into a lovely must-have tool. A solution people line up to purchase. And, in the day’s end that’s all you have wanted, right?