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Ten ways to measure design

A framework of useful measures

Each the initiatives proposed in the future Strategy will generate a number of the benefits described below.

  1. Behavioural influence
    Behavioural influence can be measured qualitatively and quantitatively depending on the design. Look for shifts in customer behaviour, selections, completions and preferences in response to design changes and match them against your desired outcomes
  2. Improved usability
    The usability of an interface design can be measured by analysing the efficiency of user navigation through observation, click-through, or interviews. All manner of design-based usability issues can be isolated and evaluated through usability testing.
  3. Cost savings
    This is a good measure for design changes whose value can be easily cost-attributed or measured via traditional financial ratios. Organisations with good design are often stronger on all financial measures from practical, statistical and managerial perspectives.
  4. Consistency and response times
    Guidelines and standardisation are an excellent way to reduce processing times, errors and costs. Measure standardised performance against past performance against customer satisfaction, response times and resources, especially with other factors constant.
  5. Brand image and reputation
    Design builds image and this can be measured by reputation gains. Reputation can be difficult to quantify, but qualitatively, you can measure it through awards, awareness, feedback and brand recognition amongst others.
  6. Enables innovation
    You can also measure the success of a design in the rate of additional innovations or improvements it leads to, through both the process of ideation itself and the self-building gains that an innovation culture yields.
  7. Developing customer communities
    Good design can attract and foster both deliberate and organic customer communities. This is engaging, sticky, and extremely effective. These are easily measured qualitatively through user research and quantitatively through participation metrics.
  8. Creating intellectual property
    Another way to measure design’s contribution is to consider how much you’ve lost if it is stolen. If you want to maximise the ROI of your design efforts, consider securing intellectual property protection, and integrating IP-building efforts into design processes.
  9. New markets
    This is related to behavioural influence and customer communities, but another indicator of successful design is the creation of, or entry to, new markets, partnerships or user cohorts. Take note of whether new types of customers or partnerships can be linked back to design.
  10. Sustainability
    Design can have considerable impact on our environment, and that impact is easily measurable using standard sustainability metrics. This may be a longer term measure of design success, but it is certainly a good return on investment alongside the other benefits.

Original report authored by ThinkPlace, a strategic design consultancy.