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True Value Of Usability Or How To Calculate ROI Of UI/UX Design

Nataliia P. - July 9, 2021 - 0 comments

Value is defined as the importance, significance, and usefulness of a thing. People tend to make decisions based on potential benefits – for example, “Should I buy this product?” or “Do I need to subscribe to this service?” In the case of evaluating the business value of design, entrepreneurs may ask themselves, “Should I hire a designer?” This question essentially arises because owners cannot always quantify the return on design. They sign a contract with a UI/UX expert, agree on a significant salary, but how to understand if their costs are paid off? This article will shed light on measuring design quality and metrics to apply in this process.

How To Measure ROI of UX?

UI/UX design is often seen as an abstract concept with no way to express it in quantitative indices. Many people think it is developed exclusively for users, but it is not quite so. A thought-out design acts as a profit accelerator. First of all, it works for the owner, stimulating active sales and engaging users in closer interaction. Back in 1982, Roger S. Pressman listed the benefits of design investments in his book Software Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach. He pointed out that every dollar invested in a design returns at least tenfold after the product is released.

This figure is rather impressive. It proves that investing in design not only pays off but brings good returns. But how to see the relationship between the work done and the result obtained? There are various metrics to assess the UX quality. You can use them if you doubt the designer’s competence and want to evaluate their work performance.

Google HEART

HEART is Google’s framework that reflects a person’s impressions from interacting with a product. It analyzes user’s attitudes from different perspectives and shows how well current needs are covered. HEART is broken down into five categories: happiness, engagement, adoption, retention, and task success. Taken together, they form a comprehensive set of UX metrics that allow you to receive feedback from users and respond to it in real-time.

To work with the framework, Google offers the “goals – signals – metrics” system. 

  • the goal is what you need to get
  • the signal is what points out to success or failure
  • the metric is a quantitative measurement of a signal

You should apply it to each HEART category, as shown in the example below.

Goals Signals Metrics
Happiness Increase the level of customer satisfaction from using the product Users rate the product, participate in polls, write comments, mention the product on social media Net Promoter Score (NPS) = % of supporters -% of critics.

Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) = positive responses / total number of responses

Engagement Increase the time of interaction with the product and the number of sessions Users activate the product, use its functions, and consume content Number, duration, and depth of sessions
Adoption Increase the number of new users of the product New users download the product, register in it, and take their first steps The number of downloads, installations, and registrations compared to the previous period
Retention Increase customer lifecycle and reduce churn Registered users repeat purchases and renew subscriptions Lifetime value (LTV) = time of active product usage /  average profit per client
Task success Increase the number of completed tasks Users complete actions in the product Total requests solved (TRS) =c completed tasks / total number of user requests.

Time of implementation of key tasks

User churn.


System Usability Scale (SUS) is a convenient UX assessment method consisting of ten prepared questions applied to almost any type of software and interface. Users are offered to answer them after a certain time of interaction with the product. The most relevant answers come from those who have tried all or almost all product features. User rate answers with 1 to 5 grades, where 1 – strongly disagree, 5 – strongly agree. You can see a complete SUS questionnaire below:

  1. I intend to use the system regularly
  2. I think the system is too complicated
  3. I find the system is simple to use
  4. I think I need external tech help to figure out how to use the system
  5. I admit all system functions are well integrated
  6. I think the system is rather inconsistent
  7. I believe the users will quickly find out how to use the system
  8. I faced many difficulties while using the system
  9. I did not doubt how to use the system
  10. I had to study extra information before I understood how to use the system

To calculate the SUS rating, you need to subtract five from the score of even questions and one from the odd questions. Next, sum up the obtained values and multiply the resulting number by 2.5. The average score is considered to be 68. If you get less, you need to take measures to improve the design urgently. If you receive more, you can be proud of the quality of your UX.

Measure UI/UX design with SUS approach

Measure UI/UX design with SUS approach


The Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Loyalty Index shows how much users love or hate you. It doesn’t take long to calculate NPS. You need to ask clients one question: “How likely is it that you will recommend us to a friend or colleague?” The answer is rated on a scale of 1 to 10, where 0 is “no way” and ten is “absolutely yes.” Depending on the given answer, the respondents are divided into three groups: detractors, passives, promoters. You can see a more detailed interpretation below:


Measure UI/UX with NPS approach

Measure UI/UX with NPS approach

To evaluate the result of the survey, use the formula:

How to calculate NPS

If your NPS rate is:

  • more than 50, things are going well, but you still can’t relax
  • from 30 to 50, everything’s not bad, but it can be better
  • less than 30, it is a reason to think about some improvements
  • less than 0, it is time to take action urgently

How UI/UX design affects business value. Design value by McKinsey

McKinsey is a team of well-known business consultants who were the first to measure the business value of design in numbers. For five years, they were tracking the financial performance of global companies from various industries and interviewed their top business and design leaders.

As a result, they defined 100,000 design activities influencing the financial performance of the organization. Later they were grouped into four large clusters:

  1. Analytical leadership. Calculating design metrics is as rigorous and regular as calculating financial metrics.
  2. Cross-functionality. Human-centricity becomes the responsibility of all employees, not just one department.
  3. Continuous iteration. Ongoing communication with the end-user to validate, test, and improve ideas.
  4. User experience. Any project starts with the user and aims to create a seamless customer experience.


Design value by McKinsey

Design value by McKinsey

When To Evaluate Design Value?

Design value, like other financial performance metrics, is best measured over the long term. However, this does not mean you should be in the dark during the initial product launch stages. It is necessary to apply thorough analytics at once after release. But the obtained results should be used as a part of dynamic analysis rather than for drawing immediate conclusions. The more often and more regularly you collect metrics, the bigger picture of software performance you get.

Remember, business performance is not reflected in a single parameter. If the product behaves not as expected, you should conduct a comprehensive assessment of its path. High-end design is one of the key influencers of effective execution, but not the only one. You should view it together with other indicators and be super agile to make necessary changes in time.

Awesome design evolves with the product and the growing customers’ demands. If you understand its value and invest in its development, you get multiple returns through happy clients and increased profits. By caring for users, you primarily work for yourself and for strengthening the brand name.

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