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Digital Experience Measurement

Posted on 7.31.2013

Tell Me How You Really Feel!

Measuring the usability of your digital properties — be they native mobile applications or websites (responsive or not) — can be a challenge, even for the savviest experts.

Solutions to help Internet professionals measure the experiences they offer abound, from analytics to survey solutions (wsm.co/5digitalsurveytools), and new offerings are emerging every digital day. Google, for example, just released Google Consumer Survey, a solution that enables website owners to create customer satisfaction surveys and collect responses from their site visitors. Google’s product offers the first 500 responses free (though its limited to four questions) and will run until the site has collected the full amount of replies, starting over again each month, making it possible to monitor user satisfaction over time.

Surveys are certainly one reliable path toward understanding more about what users are experiencing and how they really “feel” about your digital presence, but they’re far from the only ones. To improve the user experience, what it really takes is starting out with the right measures to manage. As any digital maven will report, numerous measurements already exist that can be used by Internet professionals who have made developing optimal user experiences a priority.

For example, Jeff Sauro, founding principal of quantitative research firm Measuring Usability and author of “Quantifying the User Experience: Practical Statistics for User Research”, suggests the use of SUPR-Q, a rating scale to measure perceptions of usability, trust, credibility, appearance and loyalty for websites. SUPR-Q scores are based on a database of hundreds of websites from tens of thousands of users across dozens of industries. It is undoubtedly a means to measure user experience effectively, but there are others to consider.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) benchmarks are a common method to measure and manage the user experience. NPS focuses primarily on how likely people are to spread a positive message about your product or business. In its simplest form, improving a NPS is achieved by reducing the number of detractors and fostering a positive, ongoing relationship with promoters, those loyal enthusiasts of your brand who will keep buying and referring others. Learn more about Net Promoter Score with Website Magazine’s guide for this important benchmarking model at wsm.co/npsguide.

Both SUPR-Q and Net Promoter Score are useful, which is why they’re used so frequently. The reality is, whether you’re using these benchmarks or not, you’re likely still measuring the digital experience of users. For example, in a general sense, completion rates (e.g. product sales or subscriber sign-ups) are a reliable approach to understanding if the experience developed is the optimal one. In many ways, completion rates are the fundamental usability metric. They are easy to understand and can be collected and analyzed at any stage in the user lifecycle. Keep in mind, however, it is essential to know what actions must occur to consider a task completed (and thus successful), focusing on the barriers in the users’ paths that may negatively affect their experiences and lead to damaged perceptions.

Despite the commonly held belief that a positive digital experience is not something that can be planned, that’s not stopping some Internet professionals from trying (and succeeding). There might be a little bit of luck involved, but generally, in order to create an experience that encourages users to become brand advocates, and more importantly complete the tasks set before them, you simply have to create great products that people want to use.

The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) developed by Fred Davis in the early 1990s is one method to predict how much people will use a new product by predicting how they are using an existing product. The survey essentially asks participants to rate the usefulness of items and their ease of use by scoring them as follows: Using this product improves the quality of the work I do; The product enables me to accomplish tasks more quickly; and overall, I find this product useful in my job. By understanding users’ experiences with other products, the idea is that brands can build better ones by exploiting competitors’ weaknesses.

Measuring the digital experience isn’t easy, but it is rewarding if you set the right benchmarks, commit to making continual improvements, and dedicate your company and its staff to putting users first.

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