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Dec 14, 2021

Top 6 KPIs every UX team should measure

Discover how to measure the success and progress of your UX activities with these essential KPIs for UX teams.

When it comes to measuring and proving the performance of your UX efforts, data speaks volumes—and that's where UX KPIs come in.

UX KPIs, or key performance indicators, give you an objective way to measure progress over time, see if goals are being met, and analyze whether changes need to be made.

Also, tracking UX KPIs makes it easier to report back to executives and demonstrate the value that UX brings to the entire organization.

In this article, our goal is to highlight the top UX KPIs and share how to measure and report on them. To get an inside look into the metrics that matter most to real-world design teams, we spoke to Thais Souza, Design Director at PayFit.

Why should you measure UX KPIs?

Key performance indicators, also known as KPIs, are quantifiable measurements used to evaluate the performance of an organization against its strategic objectives. In this way, KPIs used to monitor the progress and success of UX activities are known as UX KPIs.

There are many reasons to start measuring UX KPIs. Here we review the most relevant ones:

Track progress over time

UX team KPIs translate abstract goals into tangible metrics and thus are a reliable way of finding out if you're on track to achieve the results you want. They let you know if your UX strategy is working or if you need to make adjustments to reach your goals. And if that's the case, they can show whether those improvements are successful. In the end, UX metrics are easily comparable: you can see how a particular design change performed last time and quickly determine if the new UX is better or worse.

Identify problem areas

Getting user feedback on your designs is one of the most effective UX design principles you can adopt. UX KPIs are numerical representations of what users do and what they think about your product. This makes them a great tool to assess the quality of UX design and identify problems.

For example, when you run usability testing and record a low success rate for task completion or a high misclick rate on a particular screen—it's evident that your users are finding it hard to complete their tasks. Such metrics can pinpoint what you need to improve to deliver a better user experience.

Make success visible to stakeholders

KPIs help you translate the value of UX into the language of stakeholders and decision-makers. Using numerical data makes it easier to compare results and objectively determine how your design performs. These metrics will spotlight the value your design team delivers to users and the organization with every project. Finally, KPIs that show the success of UX activities can be a helpful argument when it comes to allocating UX budgets.

Check out these brilliant UX design examples to see the wonders good UX design can do for your brand and discover best practices to apply in your own UX design strategy.

The difference between KPIs and ROI

KPI (Key Performance Indicator) and ROI (Return of Investment) are metrics that companies can use to measure their success in achieving a specific goal. KPIs are key figures used to measure the performance of different areas or activities of a company. On the other hand, ROI is a financial indicator used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. It's expressed as a percentage and is calculated by dividing the total profit of a project by the investment into that project.

The main difference between KPIs and ROI is that KPIs measure how a particular activity is performing along the way, whereas ROI looks back at the bigger picture and final result.

You can think of UX KPIs as a guide or compass—they help you stay on course towards your goals. However, what exactly should you measure?

Behavioral UX KPIs     Attitudinal UX KPIs
Task success rate System Usability Scale (SUS)
Time on task Customer Effort Score (CES)
Search vs. Navigation Net Promoter Score (NPS)
User error rate Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Misclick rate Standardized User Experience Percentile Rank Questionnaire
Conversion rate First impression

As you can see above, there are various UX performance indicators to choose from. "Choosing the right UX metrics and what to measure is a matter of paying attention to what’s working and what’s not—for the users and the business," explains Thais Souza, Design Director at PayFit.

Instead of measuring everything, keep in mind what makes a metric most useful.

Thais Souza, Design Director at PayFit

According to Thais, the best UX metrics should have:

  • A timeframe
  • A connection between user needs and business objectives
  • A clear reason for being collected and reported
  • A connection to an action you want your customers to take

The KPIs you should track will vary depending on the type of project you're running and the goals you've set. Yet, in the following section, we'll highlight six top KPIs that most UX design teams want to measure.

Behavioral UX KPIs

Behavioral UX KPIs are numerical representations of what users do and how they interact with your product. They allow you to quickly determine if there are issues you need to fix and how your design performs over time.

1. Task success rate

One of the most common metrics used to measure user experience is task success or task completion rate. Success rate shows the percentage of users who were able to complete a task in a study and helps designers identify usability issues.

You can calculate task success rate using the following formula:

You first need to choose a task with a clearly defined goal and determine when the task is considered completed. In Maze, for example, you can set the expected flow(s) you think users will take through your prototype, and if it coincides with the one users take, the result is a direct success.

Some examples of measurable tasks are:

  • Completing a registration form
  • Adding a specific item to a shopping cart
  • Signing up for an online class

Success rates are easy to collect and offer a simple way to communicate usability findings to stakeholders. When assessing if the completion rate for your tasks is good or bad—context matters. However, studies have shown that, on average, 78% is a good completion rate.

2. Time on task

Time on task, sometimes referred to as task completion time or task time, is another valuable metric for assessing the usability of a product. It describes the time that a user needs to complete a task successfully.

The time users spend on completing a task is a measure of efficiency. In general, the shorter the duration, the better the user experience. More time might mean users are having a hard time finding what they need on a page, are lost in the flow, or don't understand how to use the product. Yet, there are exceptions. If the task is meant to keep users engaged, a longer time on task could be good.

Depending on the evaluation method and type of project, there are different ways to measure task time. Yet, the most common way is to calculate the average time spent on each task.

When you record a long time spent on a task, it's important to identify the reason. Is it because users are getting lost through the design, so you might need to rework the navigation? Or perhaps it's because they didn't understand the task, in which case rephrasing the question might produce better results. The context in which the metric was recorded matters.

3. User error rate

The user error rate identifies the number of times a user makes a mistake while performing a task. Mistake examples are clicking on a heading that isn’t clickable, typing both first and last name in the first name field, or opening the wrong page.

There are two common ways to calculate the error rate:

If a task allows one potential error or multiple error opportunities but you want to track only one of them, you need to measure the average error occurrence rate. You can do that by dividing the number of errors that occurred by the number of error opportunities.

If there are multiple possible errors per task, or you want to measure multiple errors, you can calculate the error rate by dividing the number of errors by the total number of attempts.

User errors can show how user-friendly your website or product is. A high user error rate indicates that users are confused, or that part of your design is misleading. This might lead to users getting lost or even bouncing on a live website.

According to Jakob's Law, users spend most of their time on other websites, so they expect yours to function similarly. Measuring the user error rate allows you to understand the user’s pain points and develop better UX designs and solutions.

Tip ✨

Maze Reports instantly turns your test results into quantitative data, from bounce rates and misclicks to heatmaps, so findings are easy to come by and even easier to share.

Attitudinal UX KPIs

Apart from metrics about what users do on your website, you can also measure what they think about the user experience of your product. These are often referred to as attitudinal UX metrics.

4. System Usability Scale (SUS)

Created by John Brooke in 1986, the System Usability Scale (SUS) is a quick and reliable method of measuring the usability of products and services.

The SUS is a post-test questionnaire given to a participant after a usability test is over. It consists of ten questions that address the usability and learnability of a system. Participants can answer each question using a five point scale, ranging from “I strongly agree” to “I strongly disagree.”

System Usability Scale template

You can use the following ten questions to create the questionnaire. Make sure to adapt them to your product or feature:

  1. I think that I would like to use this system frequently
  2. I found the system unnecessarily complex
  3. I thought the system was easy to use
  4. I think that I would need the support of a technical person to be able to use this system
  5. I found the various functions in this system were well integrated
  6. I thought there was too much inconsistency in this system
  7. I would imagine that most people would learn to use this system very quickly
  8. I found the system very cumbersome to use
  9. I felt very confident using the system
  10. I needed to learn a lot of things before I could get going with this system

How to calculate a SUS score

Using the questionnaire results, you can calculate your SUS score by using the following framework:

  1. Convert the scale into numbers. For example, “Strongly disagree” corresponds to 1, and “Strongly agree” corresponds to 5.
  2. For each of the odd-numbered questions, subtract 1 from the score (X)
  3. For each of the even-numbered questions, subtract their value from 5 (Y)
  4. Sum all these numbers (X+Y) and multiply by 2.5

The SUS produces a score from 0-100 that indicates the perceived usability of a system. Based on research, a SUS score above 68 is above average, and anything below 68 is below average.

Tip ✨

Gauge your tool’s usability with our “System Usability Scale (SUS) Test.” Get the template now.

5. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that quantifies how likely your customers are to recommend your product to a friend or colleague. NPS is a key indicator of customer loyalty and is relatively easy to collect.

UX professionals often use this metric to promote buy-in from stakeholders and executives. If measured consistently and periodically, the Net Promoter Score can be a valuable tool that indicates how investments in improving the user experience affect customer loyalty.

Data shows that NPS is closely related to the perception of user experience. If customers think your product is easy to use, they are more likely to use it and recommend it to others.

However, NPS has its limitations. When used alone, it doesn't give a complete picture of the user experience. You might see participants giving a high score and find out that they struggled to use your product. Or just because your customers say they would recommend your product, this doesn't mean they'll do.

Like most quantitative metrics, NPS should be paired with qualitative insights to bring more context behind the score and combined with other UX metrics. When paired with other metrics such as task success rate and task times, it can help you track the usability of your product and secure buy-in from upper management.

You can calculate your NPS by asking people to provide an answer, on a scale of 0-10, to the following question: "How likely are you to recommend this product to a friend or colleague?" Based on their rating, participants are classified into three categories:

  • Promoters: Participants who answer the question with 9 or 10. They are enthusiastic, loyal customers who will refer your product to their friends, fueling growth.
  • Passives: Participants who give a score of 7 or 8. Passive customers are satisfied but unenthusiastic. They could become promoters or switch to one of your competitors.
  • Detractors: Participants who give a score lower or equal to 6. They are unhappy customers who probably won’t use your product again and who could potentially damage your brand through negative word-of-mouth.

Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters yields the Net Promoter Score. This score can range from -100 (only detractors) to 100 (only promoters).

Tip ✨

Collect valuable, qualitative insights that will add context to your net promoter score with our "Get fast NPS feedback survey." Get the template now.

6. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is the most popular KPI for measuring how satisfied your users are with a specific product or feature, the user experience, or the business as a whole.

CSAT surveys are flexible and easy to implement—you can use them to measure the overall experience or focus on specific parts of the user journey.

Customer satisfaction is measured by asking customers a single question: "How satisfied are you with the product/feature/website?" Respondents can rate their satisfaction level on a scale from 1 (very unsatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied).

Your CSAT score is the number of satisfied customers (those who rated you 4 or 5), divided by the total responses, then multiplied by 100.

By running a customer satisfaction survey regularly, you'll be able to track the overall user satisfaction and see how customers respond to changes in your product, such as new features or UX changes.

Tip ✨

Measure how satisfied users are with your product with our "Get regular satisfaction insights" survey. Get the template now.

How to report UX KPIs

Once you’ve measured a key performance indicator, you may need to present your progress in a KPI report. Here are a few tips from Thais Souza, Design Director at PayFit, on how to report UX KPIs to non-design stakeholders and executives.

Always provide context

There’s no easy way of measuring design’s impact on business. I'm the kind of designer who really likes to use data. However, it's vital not to evaluate metrics in isolation but to put them into a context where they mean something.

Thais Souza, Design Director at PayFit

UX metrics by themselves have little value. For a UX KPI to be effective, you need to explain not only what you're measuring but also why you're tracking specific metrics, what you're doing to improve them, and how the resulting data contributes to the company’s success.

Connect your work to business goals

The best way to report a UX KPI to non-design executives is by connecting the UX KPI to a business KPI. The difference between a good designer and a great designer is the ability not only to solve problems but also to explain how the design is solving those problems and how the solution will help the company's goals.

Thais Souza, Design Director at PayFit

Your UX KPIs should always be connected with business KPIs. Linking UX outcomes to business objectives will help you trace all UX contributions and make them visible across the organization.

Keep your report simple

A KPI report is a detailed document with information about the KPIs your UX team is tracking. Here are some best practices to follow for preparing your presentation:

  • Create a direct link between your KPIs and your goals so everyone can easily evaluate the success of the current strategy
  • Use visuals such as charts, graphics, or tables to make results easier to retain
  • Try to simplify technical information or to explain technical terms using a glossary
  • If applicable, compare current data with past data to track progress over time

Final notes

UX KPIs are a great way to inform design decisions, monitor performance, and clearly communicate how your team's work impacts larger business goals.

With tools like Maze, UX metrics are measured and aggregated into actionable reports, which allows you to act instantly on the data you record. That makes it painless to track your KPIs, communicate key insights in no time, and revisit progress and success in your iterations.

Start testing with Maze

Maze generates instant, immediately-actionable reports, including detailed survey and user flow analytics.

Frequently asked questions

What are the top UX KPIs?

UX teams have numerous KPIs at their disposal. Although the ones you will choose will depend on your goals, some of the most important UX KPIs include task success rate, time on task, user error rate, System Usability Scale (SUS), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).

How can UX KPIs be measured?

How you measure a UX KPI depends on the actual KPI that you're measuring. In general, UX teams measure and track KPIs through testing, analytics, and reporting tools. For example, with tools like Maze, you can get actionable insights with automated metrics and reports.