Know your audience, and come prepared with relevant business KPIs.

We mentioned in our previous post that if you want to convince your boss to adopt a UX culture, a good place to start is with a project. And to prove the success of a UX project the results needs to be quantifiable. It is simply not enough to say, “It’s now easier to use”, “It’s better than before” or “We tested ten users and they all said it was more user-friendly.”

The proof is in the numbers. So we’ve put together a few tips to make sure that when you’re bringing the results of a UX project to your boss, whether there’s a UX culture in place or not, you’re clearly presenting them in such a way that highlights the positive effects UX has had.

Decide Which UX KPIs Will Make the Biggest Impact

The first thing you should do is figure out which key performance indicators (KPIs) for your business are the most important, or perhaps relevant, to share with your boss. For example:

  • Conversion Rate → Success rate: number of users who can successfully do what they want on your Website, mobile Website or App
  • Shopping cart size → Findability: number of users who can find what they are searching for
  • Returning Customer Rate → Net Promoter Score: how likely are they to promote your business to others

If you’re not sure, ask them what their business goals are for the current quarter/next quarter/year.

Measure the Baseline for Context

Top levels business KPIs, such as conversions and increases in sales, often appear disconnected from UX changes. This is why it’s important to be able to quantify the effect your UX design is having on them, and the best place to start is by getting baseline metrics for the current experience.

You might already have some of these metrics lying around – such as web analytics data from your Webtrends or Google Analytics. Others you might have to proactively measure through user research (usability testing, surveys, structured interviews, heuristic evaluations, card sorting, etc).

Once you have a baseline you will be able to compare KPIs over time and show your boss how your efforts are making a positive impact on the business.

Show Both Qualitative and Quantitative Data

An effective strategy to showcase your UX efforts and successes to your boss includes capturing and sharing a mix of both qualitative and quantitative metrics. If possible, these metrics should be gathered over time so that they aren’t presented as snapshots of a single point in time but presented as trends.

Quantitative metrics such as success rate, time-on-task and number of errors can give management an idea of how effective site usage is before and after the project (and remember, executive’s love numbers.) However, don’t forget that qualitative results, particularly user sessions, can also be incredibly powerful to show to your boss.

For example, a video that showcases user’s problems or them voicing their frustrations aloud during the baseline measurement should be presented with a followup video of users on the same task after your UX design work has been implemented. And while important decisions shouldn’t be made based only upon a few videos, it’s the added human element that will compliment your quantitative metrics.

Finally – Don’t Speak in UX Jargon

Perhaps most importantly, be sure to drop all the design and tech lingo that your boss (or your boss’ boss) probably isn’t familiar with when presenting. It can make it hard to relate to, and makes it even harder for them to share your hard-earned insights with their executive boards and peers.

It will be much more impactful if you stick to speaking in business terms. Instead of explaining how the cluster analysis of your taxonomy dendrograms coincided with the web behavioral metrics of cart abandonment – just say, “It was hard for people to find the stuff they wanted, which is why they abandoned their cart.” Then show how you made improvements to the information architecture, and follow it up with examples of how the numbers of cart abandonments have dropped.

Conclusion

You work hard day in and day out to provide the best experiences possible for your customers. You know that the effort you put in pays dividends for the company. And while some bosses and managers can understand this – not all will, and you might need something more concrete to show. This is why if you follow the above guidelines you’ll be able to explain your successes to even the least UX-fluent manager.