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How to Measure the Impact of Product Usability for Your SaaS Product

Posted 14 May 2023 by Simon Austerberry

Software as a Service (SaaS) companies have been soaring in popularity in recent years. However, with so many SaaS products now available in the market, companies cannot rely solely on providing features to stay competitive. Product usability is a key factor in keeping customers happy and engaged. In this article, we’ll examine how to measure the impact of product usability on SaaS.

Understanding the Importance of Product Usability in SaaS

When it comes to SaaS, product usability refers to how user-friendly a software product is. A product with good usability makes it easy for users to accomplish their tasks and achieve their goals. On the other hand, a product with poor usability can lead to user frustration that may prompt them to abandon the product altogether. Therefore, good usability is critical for customer satisfaction and retention.

Defining Product Usability

Product usability is often defined based on its ease of use. When measuring usability, it is important to consider how easy it is for customers to perform tasks using the product. This includes evaluating aspects such as intuitiveness, learnability, error tolerance, and efficiency.

Intuitiveness refers to how easy it is for users to understand how to use the product without needing a lot of guidance. A product that is intuitive will have clear and concise instructions that are easy to follow. Learnability refers to how easy it is for users to learn how to use the product. A product that is easy to learn will have a short learning curve and will not require a lot of time or effort to master.

Error tolerance refers to how well the product handles mistakes made by users. A product with good error tolerance will be forgiving of mistakes and will not punish users for making them. Efficiency refers to how quickly and easily users can accomplish their tasks using the product. A product that is efficient will have features and tools that help users complete their tasks quickly and with minimal effort.

The Connection Between Usability and Customer Satisfaction

Usability is closely linked to customer satisfaction. In fact, studies have shown that a product's usability has a significant impact on user satisfaction. A product that is easy to use and helps the user achieve their goals quickly and easily is one that is likely to be well-received by customers.

Customer satisfaction is a critical factor in the success of a SaaS company. Satisfied customers are more likely to renew their subscriptions and recommend the product to others. In contrast, dissatisfied customers are more likely to cancel their subscriptions and leave negative reviews, which can harm a company's reputation.

Why Usability Matters for SaaS Companies

In the highly competitive SaaS market, companies that prioritize usability will have an advantage over their peers. An easy-to-use product will attract and retain customers and will help the company to build a positive reputation for its products. Plus, a product with poor usability may lead to costly customer support requests, negatively impacting a company's bottom line.

Additionally, a product with good usability can lead to increased productivity for users. When users can complete their tasks quickly and easily, they can focus on other important tasks, leading to increased efficiency and productivity. This can be especially important for businesses that rely on SaaS products to streamline their operations.

Overall, product usability should be a top priority for SaaS companies. By prioritizing usability, companies can improve customer satisfaction, increase productivity, and gain a competitive advantage in the market.

Key Metrics to Measure Product Usability

When measuring product usability, some key metrics to consider include:

Task Completion Rate

This is the percentage of users who are able to complete a task successfully. A high task completion rate indicates a user interface that is easy to understand and use.

For example, if a website has a task completion rate of 90%, it means that 9 out of 10 users were able to complete the task they set out to do. This could be anything from making a purchase to filling out a form.

Task completion rate is an important metric to track because it directly measures the effectiveness of the user interface. If users are struggling to complete tasks, it could indicate that the interface is confusing or difficult to use.

Time on Task

This is how long it takes a user to complete a task. A shorter time on task indicates a more efficient user interface.

For example, if it takes a user 5 minutes to complete a task on one website, but only 2 minutes to complete the same task on another website, the second website has a more efficient user interface.

Time on task is important to track because it measures how quickly users can accomplish their goals. If users are spending too much time on a task, it could indicate that the interface is too complex or confusing.

Error Rate

This is the percentage of attempts that result in an error. A low error rate indicates a user interface that is easy to use and understand.

For example, if a website has an error rate of 5%, it means that 5 out of 100 attempts resulted in an error. Errors could include anything from a page not loading to a form submission error.

Tracking error rate is important because it helps identify areas of the interface that need improvement. If users are encountering errors frequently, it could indicate that the interface is not intuitive or that there are technical issues that need to be addressed.

System Usability Scale (SUS)

The SUS is a standardized questionnaire that assesses the usability of a product. It consists of a series of questions that evaluate factors such as learnability, efficiency, and satisfaction.

The SUS is a valuable tool for measuring product usability because it provides a standardized way to evaluate user experience. By asking users to rate different aspects of the product, it can help identify areas that need improvement and areas that are working well.

The SUS questionnaire can be administered after a user has interacted with the product, either in person or online. It typically consists of 10 questions that ask users to rate different aspects of the product on a scale of 1-5.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The NPS measures customer loyalty based on a scale of 0-10. It surveys customers about the likelihood of them recommending the product to others, giving insight into how satisfied they are with the product.

The NPS is a valuable metric to track because it measures how likely users are to promote the product to others. A high NPS indicates that users are satisfied with the product and are likely to recommend it to others.

The NPS can be calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors (users who rate the product 6 or below) from the percentage of promoters (users who rate the product 9 or 10). The resulting score can range from -100 to 100.

Tracking NPS over time can help identify trends in customer satisfaction and loyalty. If the NPS is consistently low, it may indicate that there are issues with the product that need to be addressed.

Conducting Usability Testing for SaaS Products

Usability testing involves observing users as they interact with a product to see how easy it is to use. When conducting usability testing for SaaS products, consider the following:

Choosing the Right Participants

Participants should be representative of the target audience for the product. This includes taking into account factors such as age, gender, and education level.

Preparing Test Scenarios

Test scenarios should be designed to examine the most critical parts of the product. Tasks should be designed to emulate real-world situations as closely as possible.

Moderated vs. Unmoderated Testing

Moderated testing involves an observer being present during the testing process, while unmoderated testing is conducted remotely. Moderated testing allows for more in-depth observations and allows testers to ask questions, while unmoderated testing is typically faster and less expensive.

Analyzing Usability Test Results

Once usability testing is complete, the results must be analyzed carefully. The data can be used to identify areas where improvements can be made to the product's design.

Conclusion

Usability is an essential aspect of product design for SaaS companies. By prioritizing usability, companies can attract and retain customers, build a positive reputation, and reduce costly customer support requests. Measuring and improving usability is a key way to ensure that your SaaS product maintains a competitive edge in the market.