Note to the reader:
This part of the field guide comes from our 2019 version of the UX Research Field Guide. Updated content for this chapter is coming soon!
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Launching a new product or experience is exciting, especially if you expect that it will boost you business in a substantial way. But after you’ve launched, it’s time to assess how users are actually responding to what you've put out there, in real life.
How long are visitors staying on your site or in your app? How long does it take for them to complete key tasks? Are they stumbling on the same things over and over again? Are they buying the stuff you want them to buy? The stuff they indicated they would buy in your previous research? Are they generally picking up what you’re putting down?
Many of these questions can be answered by reviewing user and web analytics.
Begin with understanding your user’s goals. For example, if you’ve created an experience within a fitness app for someone who wants to get lean, you want to understand which actions are the most important for meeting this goal, then track the ease with which folks can complete those actions.
So, how do you know when someone’s having trouble? Sometimes users give you feedback directly through a survey or support interaction. Other times the writing is on the wall in the form of quantitative analytics—like Google Analytics for web, Mixpanel for product events, or other tools in your analytics stack.
Quantitative analytics are important to all organizations, with different departments and functions monitoring what is most relevant to their needs. The C-Suite is likely watching top line metrics, like daily, weekly, and monthly revenue, plus whatever key metrics drive that revenue. Marketers are focused on metrics that drive revenue throughout the entire funnel. Product teams are focused on product usage and user centric metrics that help drive that usage, and ultimately revenue.
Whoever the person or team, the beauty of rallying around quantitative metrics is everyone can speak the same language in a pretty objective way. In the context of ongoing listening following a product release, you probably have some historical benchmarks to watch post launch, focusing in on the areas you were seeking to impact. Mapping user goals, to product goals, to revenue goals, to quantitative metrics is an important part of aligning goals across an organization.
Depending on the goals of your product launch or feature updates, you may want to focus on some of the below common quantitative metrics.
By understanding and tracking your baseline against the metrics that matter to your goals, and your users goals, you’ll quickly notice where a product update or launch is having an impact.
Once you've determined the metrics you need to track, find what teams may already be using, then what you may need and don't have. Some user researchers build out custom dashboards, integrating Google Analytics with Microsoft Excel, or taking advantage of one of the many business intelligence tools now available. Whatever you can do to automate your dashboards so you can spend less time collecting your data, and more time analyzing and acting on it, is great. Make sure to share your dashboards with other stakeholders too!
Perhaps you have a weekly department meeting where key metrics review is a recurring agenda item. Or maybe you have a monthly OKR meeting. Or maybe you are the lead researcher on a particular project you’re very invested in, and you need to know what’s happening by the day or hour on something that has just launched. Depending on your individual, team, or company situation, set up a regular cadence for reviewing the metrics that matter to you the most. Of course, it may make sense to review different metrics at a different cadence. We recommend a weekly check-in of your top level key metrics at a minimum, and then build from there based on your needs. Give yourself a recurring task or calendar event to make this ongoing review a habit or take advantage of automated email reports for your services that offer them.