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Focusing on Metrics

A common management principle advises, “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.” By measuring usability you can know that your investment is working. You can tell what areas need more work and can improve your process. The central usability team needs to create and maintain the usability metrics that make sense to your business.

One type of metric describes the process of user-centered design. It is good to track the number of staff hired and trained, the number of people working on usability issues, and the number of projects that do or do not apply the user-centered methodology. The main purpose of these metrics is to validate that usability work is actually being done and to show the growth and stability of usability in the organization. Note that this is basically cost accounting. Although you may be happy to see a solid investment in usability, this does not actually measure anything valuable for the organization. While you will have an indication of cost in hand, there had better be a solid improvement in the business results to justify this expenditure.


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