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Using KPIs to Track the Value of Design

Using KPIs to Track the Value of Design

Pamela Porto
minute read

Organizations with a high level of UX maturity know that making design decisions based on users’ motivations and data is the best way to systematically meet and exceed customer’s expectations. If you’re a product leader tasked with ensuring the continuity of user-centric design throughout the whole PLC (Product Life Cycle), you’ll want to accurately track the progress of your team's efforts. 

The good news is that even while UX can be tricky to measure, there are certain behavioral and attitudinal metrics that you can use to set UX KPIs (User Experience Key Performance Indicators). These serve as a measurement tool to see the impact of your design and user experience. 

KPIs are great to help you translate your past progress and success into a strategy through the analysis of data. You just have to make sure you are dealing with good metrics, not vanity ones. These are the type of metrics that only make you feel good, but really don’t bring any insights into how to improve. So what makes a good KPI?

KPIs should allow you to see trends

A ratio or a rate allows you to see metrics over a day, month, or year. For instance “total number of downloads'' (more of a vanity metric) vs “active monthly users.” The total number of downloads may not give you a realistic picture of what's happening. However, the number of monthly active users gives you a long-term view where you can see trends over time and whether or not you’re providing value.

KPIs should be comparable

You will also want a KPI that allows you to compare metrics between different types of users, regions over a period of time. For instance, comparing the number of active users on Wednesday vs during the weekend. Or comparing users' activity in the US vs Europe. These metrics allow you to check if things change once the users have more experience with the product as well as any cultural aspects. You can then make informed decisions to increase engagements on lower rate days. 

KPIs should be simple and drive action

Using the same example of “monthly active users” if you’re tracking this metric over a period of time and see a sudden downtrend or a spike, you can investigate what drove that change and fix it.

Behavioral metrics to track as KPIs

Now let’s move onto the type of UX metrics you can use as KPIs depending on the goals you’d like to track. These types of metrics tell you how users interact with your product.

If you want to track performance
  • Session duration or time spent on the page: Is the page relevant?
  • Bounce rate: Where are users dropping off? What did they see that didn’t match their expectations?
  • Reduce number errors: Are users able to correctly complete their tasks?
  • User retention: Are users coming back to use our application?
  • Search vs navigation: Are users finding their way into the experience? Or do they have to rely on the search bar?
  • Time on task/reduce workload: Are users becoming more efficient at completing tasks?

If you want to track value and exposure
  • Number of active monthly users: Does our application provide value?
  • Number of new visitors: Are we able to attract new users? Where are they coming from?

If you want to track credibility
  • Number of referral click links: Are users referring our application to others? Are they sharing our referral click links, or referring through reviews, ratings, etc.

If you want to track interest and conversion
  • Number of sign-ups, free trial, or purchase: Are users taking that ultimate action in the app we want them to take? 

If you want to track your use of internal resources?
  • Amount back from each investment dollar: A rule of thumb is for every one dollar invested in user experience and design efforts, you save $10 in development and $100 in post-release maintenance.

Attitudinal metrics to track as KPIs

These types of metrics tell you how users feel about your product.

If you want to track user satisfaction and overall usability
  • Measuring usability: How useful and usable is our experience? A great tool to measure usability is the System Usability Scale. When this usability scale is used, participants are asked to score 10 items with one of five responses that range from Strongly Agree to Strongly disagree.
  • Customer satisfaction: How satisfied are users with the experience?


There is a mountain of evidence out there showing that when a company is invested in and focused on user experience, they see higher performance and usage rates of their product. That’s why it is important to track at least 5-7 KPIs throughout the product cycle. 

The better data you have about how users feel and what they do inside your product, the faster you will be able to provide value and prove your UX efforts and strategy inside your team.

Last updated
Nov 8, 2022

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