How we used the HEART framework to set the right UX goals

Last week Danielle recounted how our team re-focused our project to ensure that we were designing for measurable impact. If you haven’t already, you should read the piece.

Management thinker Peter Drucker captured the essence of our prototyping and usability testing phase with this quote:

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

This quote captures an idea that is crucial for data-driven design: to know if a design is successful, we must define what success looks like so that we can track and measure it. By clearly establishing UX metrics for success, we can quantify our progress and adjust the process to produce the desired outcome of improving the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit experience.

Using the HEART Framework to kick-off goal setting

It felt like a godsend that I came across Kerry Rodden’s writing on how to choose the right UX metrics. This framework helped us focus on aspects of the Toolkit’s user experience (HEART Framework) we want to improve, as well as concrete goals (Goals-Signals-Metrics).

HEART Framework by Kerry Rodden, visualized by Digital Telepathy

For the Toolkit, we narrowed in on happiness, engagement and task success as the 3 UX metrics the whole team wanted to focus on. For a full breakdown of the framework, check out the visual article created by Digital Telepathy.

How we arrived at our 3 UX metrics

During agile sprint review meeting with MaRS, we tried to reverse engineer subjective UX goal setting by asking them:

An entrepreneur uses the new MaRS Entrepreneur’s Toolkit. What tweet do they send out after?

They responded:
 “Found a really useful resource about market”
 “I really enjoyed learning the insights about X”
 “This is an excellent resource that really helped me work through X”

By understanding how MaRS wants users to talk about the Toolkit, it uncovered that the team wants users to be happy with the Toolkit by providing valuable and meaningful content that empowers entrepreneurs. As a result of users being happy with the Toolkit, the team wants to see more user engagement on the Toolkit web pages. Engagement would be measured through Google Analytics that capture behavioural proxies such as frequency of user’s visits to certain web pages and depth of interaction through time spent on web pages.

MaRS reflected on the original push to create the Toolkit; MaRS staff was constantly flooded with the same search inquires about startup topics from entrepreneurs. As search is a highly task-focused activity — measuring task success of efficiently and effectively finding a resource is an important UX goal.

Using the Goals-Signals-Metrics process to fill the table

Goals: It’s hard to figure out meaningful goals, so we found it helpful to start at a higher level that allowed the team to reverse engineer the metrics that will help measure progress towards the goals.

Signals: The first step we took to reverse engineer the metrics was to map goals to lower-level signals that will be sensitive to changes in our prototype design. As this was the first draft, we could make this stronger by doing some research to ensure that we are on the path to choosing the right metrics.

Metrics: Once the signals were identified, we mapped it to the lowest level possible units that are measurable and trackable. As the Toolkit is a website, Google Analytics was a great place to dive deeper into understanding what type of analytics we can use to measure the success of the Toolkit.

Here is a chicken-scratch version of the HEART Framework that we filled out in the meeting:

This was a great activity to conduct with the team because it helped align all the team members towards the strategic vision of the Toolkit. This is a great starting point to identifying metrics that would work as KPIs, but I will save that thought for another time!

Do you have a particular way to set and measure UX goals? I would love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to reach out!