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September 11, 2019

How Useful are UX Statistics Really?

These days, any business worth its salt (or chips) is able to access its user experience statistics at the touch of a button.  From feedback to purchasing trends, user experience statistics are big news for business – but how useful are they really?

Putting it down to experience

Not to be confused with customer loyalty, the term ‘user experience’ embraces the relationship between customer and brand and is based on a wide range of factors.  

As the name suggests, user experience is all about a customer’s perception of your brand – from aesthetics of a physical store to the in-depth experience of site navigation and customer service.

Customers tend to measure experience against previous visits and visits to competitors and, this experience will determine whether a future visit is going to happen.  Customer experience embodies anything from a swift social media visit to a multi-dimensional physical store visit and is influenced by factors such as up-selling and cross-selling.

Perhaps this is why UX consultants offer UX audits to clients who are looking to make more of the traffic they get to their websites. Andy Drinkwater of iQ SEO says “We all get traffic to our website and are excited when we see good positions in the SERPs, but what happens when someone gets to the site? Are they completing an action or are they leaving? Are you even aware of what is happening? If not, then you probably need to think about how you can see what is going on and if there are any bottlenecks or areas of concern.”

Blinded by science

The following (to name just a few) are some of the terribly clever ways in which businesses measure user experience: 

Standardized Universal Percentile Rank (SUPR-Q): uses 13 tools to measure user experience with factors including credibility, reliability and appearance.  Scores are drawn from a database of 200 websites across a huge number of industries – not all (or many) of which will be relevant. 

Net Promoter Score Benchmarks – this method calculates how likely customers are to spread a positive message about your brand – and is, therefore, an indication of how your brand is likely to grow. 

Userfeel – this software allows you to view videos of real customers voicing their thoughts as they use your website or application.  Although a novel piece of software, only a random selection of users will choose to participate.

Impressive?  Yes.  Effective?  Sort of.

Although these tools can be useful in gaining some extra data, they’re not essential and may, in fact, actually be painting a false picture of user experience for your brand.

For a better idea of how your user experience is really performing, it’s worth investing in a UX audit before going any further.

Do the numbers add up?

The simple fact of the matter is that when we conduct user experience research, almost every piece of research will contain errors – which means that your overall user experience result may be incorrect.  We, therefore, calculate a ‘confidence interval’ to compensate – for example, if 50 people are surveyed and 42 of them do something the same way – our result will be a 95% degree of confidence that between 71% and 91% of users will feel the same way. The issue here is that in a data sector of 100 people, we can no longer be sure of the confidence interval and, therefore, should not place our entire trust in the data. 

That doesn’t, of course, mean that measuring user experience is worthless – just that it needs to be done intelligently.  For optimum success, measuring user experience should be concentrated on the following points: 

Rate of questions asked – you need to begin by examining the questions asked – if any of these are questions relating to aspects which you thought were self-explanatory then this may be skewing your figures – in which case, you may need to re-look at the way your information is presented on your site or on your app. 

Rate of complaints – Complaints are, of course, one of the most important aspects of feedback and, therefore, of user experience.  If you’re experiencing a large number of complaints – and a large number of customers are complaining about the same things – this indicates a genuine problem which should be addressed fast. 

Net gain of customers – if the rate of increase of your customer base is in steady decline, there is almost certainly a problem with your user experience.  This is a good time to take a look at the figures of your competitors.  If your competition is smashing it out of the park while you sit on the bench, you need to figure out what they’re doing right and why they’re doing it so much better than you are. 

Churn Rate – Needless to say, a high churn rate means that you’re losing existing customers.  Which means that there’s an issue with your user experience.  Churn rate refers to those customers who have been reasonably loyal to your brand for a length of time but have now defected to a competitor.  Finding out what’s causing the churn – and then figuring out how to reverse it is a huge part of nailing user experience.  

“Once you’ve narrowed down your parameters, you can then engage with customers to gain a more rounded view of how you’re doing,” says Robert Niechcial CEO at Bank Secrets. 

As with any aspect of business, statistics can be really helpful in giving you an overview of the working of your business – just don’t rely solely on the numbers to figure out what your customers want – and need. 

There are a number of tools available which can help boost and monitor user experience indirectly – such as the SEMRush Brand Monitoring Tool which can help you keep an eye on what’s going on with your brand – and tools like this one will generally be more useful than a dedicated UX tool.


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Technology Journalist from London, currently based in Malaga. For 2 years now, I've been writing stories about how our internet works - and how it is changing. From artificial intelligence to UX things are happening today at a pace that can seem bewildering. I am the future-processing.com associate.

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