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The 5 Most Important Questions to Ask When Measuring UX Outcomes

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The 5 Most Important Questions to Ask When Measuring UX Outcomes

Imagine that you are a Head Chef, but you do not know any metrics on food ordering or consumption for your restaurant. You would have to prep the menu without data on what customers actually order or which meals get sent back uneaten. Without that data, how could the Head Chef optimize the menu? Without that data, how can the Head Chef optimize the customer’s eating experience? The answer to both questions is that she can’t. The same goes for the Product Designer who doesn’t get any outcome metrics on her designs.

To be able to properly conclude that a design change improved user experience, the Product Design team must first define specific metrics that will prove the desired (or lack thereof) outcomes of a change in user behaviors. But how does a Designer figure out which metrics will prove the desired outcome?

We recently sat down with Jeff Gothelf, author of several books on measuring UX outcomes including Lean UX and Forever Employable to get his advice on questions that a UX Design and Product team can ask to determine the right UX outcomes from a design project. Below is a summary of his advice.


How does a Product Design Team determine the correct metrics to measure UX outcomes?

Before even getting into the conversation about data, tools or metrics, a product team needs to set the designer up for success. To do so, the following 5 questions should be answered before starting a design project. Doing so, will ensure that the designers are focused on the desired outcomes:

  1. What problem are we solving for the user?
  2. Which customer persona are we trying to help?
  3. What business goals are we hoping to achieve?
  4. What customer outcomes will signal that we are improving these business goals?
  5. What specific metrics will prove (or disprove) these customer outcomes?

By asking these questions a designer can get a clear link between the strategic purpose of the design project and specific user metrics. A designer will then know what impact success will have on the organization. This is the essence of the mantra to focus on outcomes over outputs.

When does a Product Design team need to answer these questions?

It is critical that a Product Design team defines the desired outcomes and metrics before design begins.

If you find yourself asking “where do I begin?”, then you are thinking hyper-tactically and not strategically and you aren’t focusing on outcomes over outputs.

This May Be A New Practice for Some UX Teams

We recognize that it may not be a standard practice for some UX teams to get answers to these questions. But we can’t stress enough how important it is that a UX Designer answers these questions BEFORE starting a design project. Doing so sets the Designer up for success. But more importantly, it sets the product up for success.

We recommend sharing this article with your product team and having the discussion about how the Product team can empower the UX team to be successful in creating a world class user experience.