Using Google's HEART framework to measure User Experience.

User Experience is founded on using research to provide actionable insights based on evidence rather than assumptions. However, while there is a wealth of data available to marketers, it is the management of that extensive data that can prove to be the biggest issues when it comes to measuring the effects of User Experience. 

The challenge of measuring UX affects businesses of all sizes, and so in recognition of this, the UX research team at Google developed a measurement framework to help. The framework, known as HEART, is a set of user-centred metrics for web applications. The framework can be applied to a specific feature or a whole product, and can help measure progress towards key goals and product-related decisions.



The HEART framework 

H is for Happiness

Happiness is a measure of the users’ attitudes and satisfaction towards a product or a particular feature. It may include visual appeal, likelihood to recommend and perceived ease of use. A well-designed survey will enable the impact of changes and new features to be tracked over time.

Happiness measurement can be collected via:

-       An in-product survey
-       Net Promoter Score (NPS)
-       Regular face-to-face user feedback sessions

It is important not to knee-jerk react to initial results and continue to track over time. A major redesign may prompt a short-term dip in happiness as people generally don’t like change and need to get used to a new and unfamiliar environment.

E is for Engagement

Engagement is how much a user interacts with your product in a given time frame. The measures may include the frequency and intensity of use, for example the number of visits per week or the amount of new content uploaded per user per day. The right metrics for engagement will depend on the purpose of your product.

Reporting on an ‘average per user’, rather than a total count gives a more comparable indication of engagement, as otherwise it is difficult to distinguish whether an increase of engagement is due to more users or higher engagement.

A is for Adoption

Adoption measures the number of unique users within a given time frame. It can be argued that having sufficient marketing activity in place will heavily influence the rate of adoption.  However, if the user experience is poor and reviews are negative this will also directly affect the rate of people choosing your product over time.  

Measurement of adoption may include:

-New visits (this may be relevant depending on the goals of your product)
-Completion of a key task e.g. a new user account created
-Upgrade to the latest version

R is for Retention

Retention measures how many users return or how many users from a given time period are still present some time later. For example, what number of seven-day active users in a given week are still seven-day active users three months later? The period that you measure for retention will depend on your product, it may be weekly, monthly or even quarterly.

Recording the number of users lost, known as churn, is also a useful retention metric to measure. In addition, understanding the metrics by new and existing users, you can make relevant adjustments to your product based on the audience.

T is for Task Success

Task Success focuses on the behavioural metrics of user experience and includes measuring efficiency (e.g. the time it takes to complete a task), effectiveness (e.g. percentage of tasks completed) and error rates.

Task success can be measured with remote usability or benchmark study where users are assigned specific tasks. A/B testing can enable the best solutions or most appropriate feature changes to be identified.

Goals, Signals and Metrics (GSM)

Based on your product, you should select one or two of the categories of the HEART framework that are most relevant for your product. With the categories selected, you need to first articulate the goals of your product or feature, then identify the signals that indicate success, and finally build specific metrics to track on a dashboard.


Different members of the team may disagree on the product, project or feature goals, and so this process helps to collect ideas and gain a consensus. An obvious goal is to increase usage, but it is important to consider how the user experience will help. Is it more important for you to attract new users or to encourage existing users to be more engaged?

Once you have identified your Goals, the next step is to map these to the Signals.


This is how the success or failure of goals might show itself in user behaviour or attitude. What actions indicate a goal has been met? What user perceptions suggest that there has been a success or failure?  Ensure you choose the signals that will be sensitive to your changes.

It is important to consider where you will get your data insight from for these signals. Logs-based behavioural signals and attitudinal surveys are sources used most often. It is sometimes easier to identify failures rather than successes, such as an abandoned task, ‘undo’ events or frustration.

An example of a signal might be that on an ecommerce site, a user adds a product to their online shopping basket, but doesn’t check out – this is task abandonment.


Metrics are the numbers that translate the signals in to a measurable unit and can be tracked over time on a dashboard.  Ensure you restrict the metrics you collect to those that can directly inform your decisions, rather than including the nice-to-have data that will lead to unnecessary clutter. 

Google’s advice when considering metrics includes choosing averages, ratios and percentages to ensure your metrics remain relative as your user base grows. In addition, consider the accuracy of metrics based on web logs, such as filtering out automated traffic and ensuring all the important actions are being logged.

Based on our example above, the metric might be the percentage of cases where users add items to their basket and does not checkout. 

In summary

By identifying and selecting the relevant categories on the HEART framework for your product and devising the Goals, Signals and Metrics, you can establish a way of measuring and reporting on the effects of your user experience investment.

If you would like to understand how User Experience tools and techniques can improve your web application, mobile app or website to delight your users, the digital experts at DotLabel can help you along your UX journey. Whether it is reviewing and improving your existing presence or redesigning an underperforming site, our team will work with you to drive results.





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