Recently I had the opportunity to do some in-depth research into usability metrics. I attended a VanUE talk by Lynne Polischuik on web analytics and this set me off into investigating more qualitative and quantitative measurements for judging the success of user experience metrics.

Previous to Lynne’s presentation, I would look at analytics, cringe, and close the browser tab… But Lynne made a good point in her presentation when she said (I paraphase):

You have to ask a question of your analytics. If you just look at them without asking a question, they won’t tell you anything.

For someone who is not a math person, this was a revelation to me… And made analytics and metrics much more accessible. At the same time I was talking with Elizabeth Snowdon about usability testing and she was talking about the different metrics she comes up with during the testing. Also at the same time I was writing a paper on how to set metrics for taxonomies, as in, how useful is a current taxonomy vs a redesigned taxonomy.

All this research led me to a number of quality posts and documents, which I’ll list here for you.

How to Manage Design Projects with User Experience Metrics
This article gives step by step instructions for creating UX metrics.

UX metrics provide a way for you to see how your current design measures up to what your customers (and the business) needs. In practice, we characterise user experience by measuring the user performance on a basket of test tasks.

Metrics for KM and CM
This article was great for getting a handle on content management and knowledge management metrics.

In an environment of tight budgets and high expectations, metrics are an appropriate next step for an industry that prides itself on delivering big benefits. Defining metrics is not easy, however, and much study and further practical experience will be needed before implementing such measures becomes simple or commonplace.

The Pain and Gain of Taxonomy User Testing
For some perspective on how to test a taxonomy.

As a taxonomy consultant, I always recommend (rather, urge with great gravitas) to my clients that they reserve some time and budget for adequate user testing. As they say, the proof is in the pudding: there’s nothing better than quantitative data to tell you whether you’ve built a structure that really resonates with your core audiences and facilitates their tasks.

A Practical Framework for SharePoint Metrics
This one is titled for SharePoint, but there’s a lot that applies more generally.

The measurement process is presented as a series of questions that help guide you through the decisions required to define, choose, and use the metrics.

More Articles?

I hope you find these articles useful. Which articles do you find particularly useful? I’d love to hear about them.