Key metrics to measure digital workplace user experience

A group of 4 women sat around a table in their workplace discussing something.

This article is a guest post from Chloe Dervin, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Webvine, a SharePoint and Microsoft 365 Services consultancy – and one of our valued partners!

When optimising a website, product or system, it can be difficult to join the dots between design and outcomes. Everyone has an opinion on design and it can be difficult to objectively select one road over another. The discipline of User Experience (UX) measurement and refinement can help with this, complementing quantitative research with qualitative data that can be viewed objectively, compared against benchmarks and show trends over time. It’s harder to argue with numbers than opinions!

At WebVine, we build staff intranets and often partner with Sitback to track engagement and drive adoption using both design and communication strategies. Rigorous, controlled UX research is one of these strategies, and this article aims to provide a starting point; ideas for metrics to measure in order to gain a better understanding of your UX, as well as manage stakeholders.

User experience vs usability

First, we should make a distinction between usability and user experience. Generally speaking, the former is about how successfully someone can use a product to accomplish a specific goal, whereas the latter is a broader concept, encompassing motivations, attitudes and expectations of the product, brand or company.

“Basically, user experience is the whole pie, and usability is just a slice of that pie.”


Beyond usability, the UX components of a product or service such as desirability and value are less to do with system design and will probably require qualitative research. 

User surveys are not enough 

Surveying users and simply asking what they liked and didn’t like about their experience is fraught with problems. Even if they can recall accurately, most people lack the knowledge to respond effectively. 

Tracking and reviewing usage metrics can build a more accurate picture of user friction points. It might be a good idea to start out by creating some personas and journey maps to provide context to the metrics below – who is using the site and what are they trying to achieve?

UX metrics to start with 

There are reams of information about UX on the internet complete with formulas and sample size calculations if you want to really get into the weeds.  

Here are some basic building blocks from common usability tests that could be combined to create your own compound score for a certain process or task.

  1. Task success/completion rate: Are users completing the tasks they are trying to achieve? You could set up custom funnels in Google Analytics to determine how often users reach a goal or at which points they are getting derailed. 
  2. Time on task: Marketers love time on site as a metric but long visits can indicate problems as well as engagement. How long is it taking users to get things done? You can look at the average time to complete a task successfully or how long users are trying before giving up. This is often most useful when compared with a goal to track improvement over time.
  3. Error rate: what unintended actions, mistakes or omissions are users making when they try to complete a process such as filling in a form? What is the severity of these errors? Services like HotJar and Zuko make capturing this information really easy, but If you don’t have the budget for a premium tool you can achieve similar results for free using a combination of Google Tag Manager and Analytics.

User navigation

Everyone navigates differently and so it’s useful to provide several different means of reaching key destinations. When designing an intranet, we try to ensure a maximum of two clicks to important pages, then work with clients to monitor user success.

  • Back button usage: Are users pressing the back button frequently? Are they confused because of unclear content or links?
  • Navigation vs search. Some people just prefer to search. But if most of your users are searching rather than using menus, your site structure may be hard to understand.
  • Search effectiveness. This is a big one in SharePoint and comes with its own challenges. Are search results delivering what users expect or are they searching multiple times? Or even just giving up?
  • Page load speed. You can build the best site in the world but if it doesn’t load fast enough, people will simply leave. The first view of your pages must appear within four seconds, ideally two. And don’t forget mobile! Now that work gets done everywhere, anytime, mobile-enabled intranets have become mission critical.

Commercial user interactions 

While all of these techniques previously mentioned apply to internal platforms as well as customer-facing websites, there are a number of scenarios from a commercial point of view where you may want to take the tracking further to help optimise your customer experience and conversion.

  • Shopping cart abandonment. High abandonment indicates issues with your purchase/registration process. This may reflect process or performance problems but could also be content related, e.g., high delivery costs. 
  • Upsell/cross-sell success rate. On the other side of the coin is opportunity cost. When sales are completed, could they be larger? Are you successfully suggesting related items to boost basket size?
  • Micro conversions. Sales are nice, but not everyone is ready to purchase. Try optimising to increase micro conversions such as watching a video or engaging on social channels.
  • Customer satisfaction. As noted above, satisfaction is an essential part of user experience and is best assessed with standardised surveys. These surveys could focus on the user’s expectations and feelings rather than usability, with the behavioural data coming from the above metrics.

UX is an ongoing process. Technology advances, user expectations increase, and legislation or competitors change the landscape. Staying on top of a few granular metrics can bridge the gap between user surveys or formal studies, bringing greater clarity to higher-level business results, quickly identifying and addressing user issues and enabling effective planning for new releases.

If you need help with SharePoint or Microsoft 365, get in touch with the Webvine team today. And if you want to improve the user experience for your internal teams or website visitors then contact the Sitback team to speak with one of our UX consultants.