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Test a design hypothesis.

Success metrics


How to measure whether your design is successful in achieving the intended outcomes.


No matter what you’re designing (software, a service, content, etc.), you need to define what your design should enable people to do and how you’ll measure whether it performs well.

Time required

2-3 hours to brainstorm and select metrics.
Length of prototype run to collect data.

How to do it

  1. Define the outcomes you expect when your design performs well. Invite stakeholders to brainstorm. Your outcomes may be based on your design hypotheses or user needs statements.
  2. List ways to measure whether your design is achieving expected outcomes. Consider quantitative and qualitative metrics:
    1. Quantitative metrics are numerical indicators (e.g. time on task, click-through rates).
    2. Qualitative metrics capture subjective feedback and insights (e.g. usability ratings, user satisfaction).
  3. Determine how you will collect data for each metric. This may involve user interviews, usability testing, surveys, and/or analytics. Choose metrics that are effective and measurable.
  4. Plan who will be responsible for data collection and how often metrics will be reviewed.
  5. Establish benchmarks for each metric. Benchmarks show whether the design meets peoples’ needs or should be further refined.
  6. Test your design, and evaluate success based on your measurement plan.
  7. Analyze the results against your benchmarks. Identify strengths and areas of improvement. Iterate on the design prototype. Refine metrics if necessary.

Additional resources

Considerations for use in government

Surveys of more than 9 people require PRA approval. Learn more at Direct observation and non-standardized conversations like semi-structured interviews) are not subject to PRA.

Your prototype may not be the only effort being tested. People may be overwhelmed by the amount of data they’re asked to provide. Finding metrics that can be automatically collected can help relieve this burden.


18F Methods

An official website of the GSA’s Technology Transformation Services

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