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Nielsen solicits material on the measurable impact of design changes

Source: Alertbox, 5 October 2001

Jakob Nielsen puts out an appeal to the ucd community for examples of metrics that quantify the impact of design changes.

Nielsen writes: I am collecting examples of metrics that quantify the impact of design changes. If you have data you are willing to share, please email Shuli Gilutz at gilutz@nngroup.com

Any type of user interface is of interest: websites, intranets, mobile devices, traditional software, consumer electronics, etc. Also, the design changes may refer to a complete redesign of the total UI or it could just be a single feature, screen, or design element that was changed.

Measures of interest include anything that measures how the use changed. Could be an improvement, but data that documents how a design change had negative results are just as interesting.

Example metrics:

  •  conversion rate
  •  size of average "sales basket" for e-commerce
  •  training time needed to learn a feature or system
  •  sign-up rate for newsletters or other desired action
  •  time on task and other productivity measures
  •  subjective satisfaction scores
  •  average page views or duration of visit per user
  •  number of times a feature was used
  •  percentage of users who bail out at a certain step
  •  number of calls to help desks or tech support
  •  learning or comprehension scores
  •  other usage or impact metrics, including new ones you invented yourself

For whatever metrics you have collected, please send both the "before" and the "after" number as well as a short description of the kind of system you were measuring and the type of change made to the design. If you can send us before/after screenshots, so much the better (whether or not you will allow us to publish the screens), but we are also interested in data where you cannot send screens.

We can keep your contribution TOTALLY ANONYMOUS and purely report your numbers as statistics that don't include any indication of what company or design they refer to. Of course, we would prefer to give you full credit if you are willing to be named. Also, if you send us screenshots, please indicate whether we should treat the screens as confidential info or whether you will allow us to publish the images. If I get enough good case studies to warrant a full report, then all contributors will obviously get a free copy.