Success Metrics (was: Visual aspects of interactiondesign...)

30 Apr 2004 - 6:58am
796 reads

MessageHi Frank

Please see my responses below... ***

Pabini Gabriel-Petit

You wrote:
Yes, most of us are after better products from a usability and visual design perspective. However, don't you think that all designs should be evaluated based on unique, pre-identified success metrics?

***Certainly, this makes sense.

For example, an interactive design submitted to Comm Arts is probably going to have success metrics skewed toward innovation in the visual design realm. In that realm, text on gifs *could* be evaluated as good design if extensibility, download time, etc. are not a priority. Isn't that ok? You might compare it with the topic of comfort in fashion design.

***Good design almost always depends on the context.

Another example is this. The applications that I work on (large ecommerce sites and enterprise apps) have success metrics identified by cross-functional teams. The priority is given to the movement of business levers (as described in eBay's IA Summit talk mentioned earlier by LukeW). The metrics might be along the lines of:

1. increasing conversion rate by [x]%
2. increasing the number of registered users by [n]
3. integrate this and that feature
4. launch in Q3

***Must have missed that IA Summit link. Can you provide it?

You'll notice that there are no usability metrics in there. No visual design coolness. I wish there were (was?), but c'est la vie.

***We've got to get usability metrics on the list. The only way I know of doing that is to make the case for it oneself.

Our challenge is to move some usability and visual design concerns onto the list of success metrics. Examples might include:

5. [n]% of users in the lab can successfully complete an order without calling customer service
6. [n]% of users in [some kinda study] feel that our visual design is more [engaging] than [competitor]
*Note: Some people on this list can probably provide better examples.

***Your examples are fine.

Getting these types of concerns added to the list can be achieved in a couple of ways:

1. By executive decree (This is rare now, but was more common 4 yrs ago)
2. By convincing the team that these metrics will move business levers (ie: conversion rate, support cost)

***Or just convincing them that usability in itself is important, but #2 is a good way of doing that.
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