GuidesUser experience (UX)Essential UX metrics to track for your next project

Essential UX metrics to track for your next project

Last updated

14 July 2023

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

Tracking metrics is an easy way to monitor the success of efforts to improve your business.

In the case of user experience (UX), tracking the right metrics can alert you to problems with usability and viability, highlighting where you need to improve your product’s overall value. Fixing these issues and ensuring your metrics are trending in the right direction will give you a more usable and profitable product.

In this article, we’ll discuss common UX metrics and how to improve them.

Why is measuring UX important?

UX metrics provide a roadmap to a more usable product.

You can sell the best product in your industry—one that’s the best at what it does by nearly every metric. But if people can’t figure out how to use it effectively, they’ll happily settle for second best.

If you attempt to improve your product’s usability without tracking any of the appropriate metrics, you can’t be sure your changes are helping. Nor will you have an informed idea of what changes are needed in the first place.

Common UX metrics

Below, we’ll discuss some of the most commonly tracked UX metrics. Many of these are objective data points you can capture automatically using analytics tools. The last few, however, are sentiment-based metrics. To gather these, you’ll need to survey users or acquire their feedback about a specific part of the product in a different way.

Abandonment rate

The abandonment rate is the percentage of people who leave a particular task before completion. For ecommerce sites, shopping cart abandonment is a commonly tracked metric. Other examples include exiting a software product before completing the task it was designed to do.

Improving abandonment rate

High abandonment rates often stem from overly complicated or confusing processes. A user’s expectations may not always align with how your platform is designed.

Streamline all processes as much as possible and provide clear and concise instructions on functionality. Run A/B testing and user testing alongside monitoring user flows to identify pain points that might be causing early exits.

Average session length

This measures the average time a user stays on a website or is active within an application in a given session. Generally speaking, longer sessions indicate higher engagement and interest in the product.

Realistically, there may be an upper limit depending on how long it takes to accomplish the software’s goals and how many times users are expected to perform that task per session. In fact, many time-sensitive tasks (like checking in guests on a hotel or airline app) would achieve higher retention and satisfaction with lower average session lengths.

Improving average session length

Many applications, like social media apps, aim to achieve a higher average session length. To keep users active for longer per session, give them more to do and make it easy and enjoyable for them to use the app.

For general websites, this usually translates to more content or more interactive elements. For software products, this means adding more value or capabilities with additional features. Sometimes, it’s a simple matter of helping users learn about and use existing features they may be ignoring or not know about.

Daily active users (DAU)

DAU refers to the number of unique users who engage with your product each day. You can also calculate your monthly active users (MAU).

Your daily and monthly active users allow you to gauge your product’s growth over time and measure the engagement of existing users.

Improving DAU/MAU

Make the onboarding process as easy and thorough as possible. Users who know how to use your product effectively are more likely to keep coming back.

Continuously add new features or content that give people a reason to check in frequently. Your net promoter score (NPS) can also help you organically achieve growth in your DAU. Theoretically, if you have more promoters promoting, your users should increase.

You can also expand your user base through traditional marketing methods or a referral program.

Error rate

The error rate is the frequency at which errors occur in your product. Having no errors is ideal, but every product has one occasionally. Each time it happens, at least one user is inconvenienced and their experience is degraded.

Working to eliminate errors eases customer frustrations and protects your company’s reputation.

Improving error rate

Establish as many automated checks as possible. They will alert you to errors or potential errors as soon as they happen.

In the event of an error, make sure the user sees a clear, easy-to-understand message. It should explain a way out or an alternative solution. Or, you could detail a convenient and easy way to alert your staff to the problem.

Highly complex processes can sometimes be simplified to reduce the number of potential errors.

Time on task

This metric is similar to average session time but focuses more on a specific task or correlated feature.

Where average session time refers to the user’s total time in the software, time on task refers to their time in a specific section of the software. If the user can perform many tasks with your product, this metric can help you narrow down possible problem areas.

Improving time on task

Many of the same tips for improving session time apply here. The user should have a clear idea of what they are trying to do and how to do it. Proper onboarding and user interface design can help with this.

Conducting usability tests to understand the user’s thought process and the challenges they face is very helpful. If one task performs significantly worse than others, take a closer look at its user journey to identify pain points.

User retention rate

This is the number of users who continue to use the product over a specific period.

You might assume this metric is the opposite of churn, which measures how many users cancel their subscriptions in a given time. However, a user will probably churn eventually if they are paying for the service and not using it.

A low user retention rate can be a warning sign that high churn is ahead. Fixing it is a chance to prevent this.

Improving user retention rate

Many of the tips for improving DAU/MAU also apply here. But you might also find some long-term tips helpful.

For example, loyalty programs and rewards may incentivize continued engagement. Adhering to insights and actively participating in the user’s efforts to achieve their goals is the most natural and effective way to achieve a long-term, sustainable retention rate.

Implement personalized communication and marketing to help keep your product fresh in the customer’s mind and improve customer relationships.

If your retention rate falls, try to identify the cause using other metrics. Try to fix it before the problem gets worse. The voice of customer (VoC) is another qualitative method that can enable you to start direct dialogues with your customers.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is a survey-based metric that asks users how likely they are to recommend your product, service, or brand to others. Higher scores indicate that customers are more satisfied with your product.

Importantly, your NPS represents users who will actively advocate for your product. As such, a healthy NPS score can unlock a powerful, free, and organic growth lever.

Improving NPS

Customers who don’t feel heard won’t recommend your product. Actively listen to customer feedback and address concerns promptly and effectively. Always try to exceed customer expectations when they come to you for support. Improve customer relationships with personalized interactions and communications.

Supporting your UX team can unlock the necessary reports, data, and direction that will enable you to achieve a high NPS.

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

CSAT measures how satisfied users are with a product and involves a survey.

Although it may seem similar to NPS without the advocacy aspect, CSAT can be more focused. You can ask about specific aspects of the product or service for a closer look at what does and doesn’t work.

For example, you might decide to assess how customers experience a new, recently released feature. To do this, you might run a brief CSAT assessment. Alternatively, you might measure the NPS for your entire product suite to gauge your customers’ overall satisfaction with the entire product.

Improving CSAT

Taking a more granular approach to your CSAT surveys will give you an idea of which specific aspects of the product do and don’t work. This gives you a good starting point for improvements.

Gather customer feedback to identify pain points and other areas for improvement. As always, pay attention to support requests and other feedback to find common areas of concern and prioritize them.

System usability scale (SUS)

The SUS metric is another feedback-based metric. This time, you’re asking the customer to rate your product’s usability through a series of questions on a scale of 1–5, where 1 is “strongly disagree” and 2 is “strongly agree.” You can use the data gathered to calculate the SUS score.

Typically, a higher SUS score corresponds to better usability and satisfaction.

Improving SUS

More feedback can help improve your SUS by identifying the exact issues users have with your product.

User testing alongside other metrics can also alert you to problem areas where users may be struggling. Always try to simplify your user interface and streamline processes for the user as much as possible.

A/B testing can help you find out what works and what doesn’t.

Which metrics should you choose?

Rather than tracking UX metrics indiscriminately, take the time to understand your goals and select the metrics that help you meet them.

The steps below can help you choose the right metrics for your product:

  • Define your goals: what will you use the metrics for? Do you want to improve customer satisfaction, minimize churn, increase engagement, or something else?

  • Identify pain points: users frequently provide feedback. This feedback can help guide you toward a specific goal or tell you which specific metrics to track.

  • Find relevant metrics: based on the list above and any additional metrics you have in mind, find those that are related to your goal and shortlist them.

  • Narrow down the list: some metrics may be relevant to your goal but not your particular use case. Make the chosen metrics apply to the way your product is structured.

  • Prioritize actionable metrics: all the metrics listed above are actionable. If selecting additional metrics, prioritize those you can action.

  • Consider data availability: if you don’t have the means to collect data or accurately calculate metrics, hold off until you do.

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