Traditional user testing techniques can make it hard to detect how consumers feel about your site and compare that feeling with other sites. In this tutorial, we will introduce the HEART Framework from Google — it’s a comprehensive framework for user experience metrics to discover more about your users and their emotions
The HEART Framework was designed by Xin Fu, Hilary Hutchinson, and Kerry Rodden, from Google’s research team to determine who uses Google’s product and why. This framework is user-centric—it studies context, engagement, and emotions to put users at the center of research to capture their experience in the moment. These metrics can then be used for decision making in the product development process. HEART is an acronym that constitutes five metrics: Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Task Success. Together they paint an image of the overall UX.
This measure focuses on the information points such as user surveys, whereby consumers tell you how much they like your product. Here, you can identify perceived ease of use, satisfaction, as well as net-promoter score (NPS). The strongest features of these metrics include their qualitative component and simplicity. However, like all other metrics, a short term analysis is not enough to base a decision off them — long-term observation is required to provide better data for decision making on projects.
The engagement part of the HEART Framework measures user interaction. This metric is important since it measures the level of user involvement. This may be measured through behavioral proxies such as intensity, frequency, and depth of interaction for a given time period. For example, this may be determined by the number of visits to your sites per day or week or number of uploads per day or week.
This is a measure of how successful your site attracts new users over a certain period of time. What counts as “adoption” depends on the data you need. Does simply visiting your site count as adoption or does your user need to purchase a product or service? Metrics in this category are used to measure how quickly users embrace your product. The data obtained here can be used to guide decision making. For instance, if the uptake is slow, you can use the data to guide change.
How likely are your customers going to come back? This metric measures the rate of consumer return. Adoption and retention are inextricably linked—adoption is important in measuring the rate at which your business brings new users in, while retention gauges the number of users who remain active within a given period of time.
Attracting new consumers and making sure they continue to perform the actions they do is not only important for your product but also to the success of your business. Both adoption and retention metrics become valuable whenever your business makes new releases or considerable changes to the way a certain feature works. You must be focused on understanding why you ‘fail to retain users,’ commonly referred to as “churn.”
Task success measures whether users can achieve what they are out to do at a reasonable rate. How did they find navigation? Did they achieve what they wanted? It measures traditional behavioral metrics which includes the effectiveness of a specific task, error rate observed, as well as efficiency of a task. Task success attribute is suitable for the task-focused parts of your site such as search or upload flow. For example, the time taken to create a profile or upload photos or success rate of search results, etc.
The HEART Framework broadens the view of user’s experiences and emotion on your site beyond just usability. The framework is easy to understand and implement and can be an important glue that holds together intention and action on your site.
Also, remember that while HEART is a great acronym to remember, the correct order to remember when it comes to user’s journey is: Adoption, Task Success, Engagement, Retention and Happiness (ATERH).