NOTE: This article by Greg Coté, CEO of DSi, originally appeared in the December 2015 edition of the Technology & Security Digest published by Western Independent Bankers. To read the article on the WIB site, click here.
Whether your bank’s IT objectives are focused on internal applications, online banking applications, or mobile banking, user experience matters.
For applications used by branch associates or customer service representatives (CSRs), you want user experiences that promote productivity and accuracy. You need software solutions that guide employees to the right decisions and the right data, so they can be as helpful as possible to applicants and customers and deliver the best possible service.
User experience is also critical for online banking and mobile banking. We have all heard too many stories about online offerings that failed to achieve their business objectives because customers abandoned online applications or other workflows they found confusing or difficult.
Whether your organization is developing its own software or evaluating a software solution from an external IT vendor, you need a systematic way of measuring the success of the user experience your software provides.
We are all familiar with popular metrics such as user visits on Web sites and app downloads from an app store. Metrics like these are useful when assessing the broad popularity of a piece of software. However, they fail to provide the details that designers and programmers need to optimize software to deliver the best possible experience.
To help your organization identify the metrics that are critical for delivering the best possible user experiences, here are two frameworks used by Google to measure the success of their software.
The Google HEART Framework
Google user experience (UX) developers created the HEART framework to evaluate the success of everything from new Web sites and apps to individual features within those sites and apps.  HEART, as you might expect, is an acronym. It stands for the following categories of metrics:
- Happiness: measurements of user attitudes, which can be collected through surveys asking qualitative questions about satisfaction, ease of use, and net promoter scores.
- Engagement and Adoption: level of user involvement, typically measured through metrics such as frequency of use, duration of use, etc. For example, how many customers have downloaded an app, and how often does a customer check his or her PFM dashboard?
- Retention: the rate at which existing users are returning. For example: what percentage of customers who set up online banking accounts use their online services over a month? How many abandon the service after trying it just a few times?
- Task success: for task-related features, these are traditional behavioral metrics of user experience, including efficiency (e.g. time to complete a task), effectiveness (e.g. percent of tasks completed), and error rates.
Not all these metrics are applicable for all projects. For example, if you are developing a branch application that tellers are required to use daily, measuring engagement is probably not terribly useful. However, measurements of teller happiness—their attitudes when using the application—might be revealing. Perhaps the application can be further streamlined, improving teller morale and indirectly promoting better customer service.
The Goals-Signals-Metrics Process
When deciding how to apply the HEART framework, it’s useful to turn to another framework used by Google’s UX team—the Goals-Signals-Metrics process.
To follow this process, begin by asking your team to identify their goals for the project. Everyone wants more customers, for example, but is this new software designed to attract new customers or deepen your engagement with existing customers? Before settling on which metrics you are going to track, make sure all the stake-holders on your project agree on the goals for the project overall.
Next, figure out how the success or failure of your goal would manifest in signals that you can actually measure. For example, if you are developing an online account opening app, and your goal is to minimize the abandon rate, a signal for the goal would be the number of completed account applications compared to the number of initiated applications over a fixed period of time.
Finally, ask if your software is instrumented (programmed) to report this metric. If it isn’t, see if it can be. Otherwise, you will find yourself having to triangulate a measurement of the user behavior you are interested in from other related or possibly tangential metrics.
Today, customer experiences are increasingly software experiences. Testing and optimizing user interfaces for both staff and customers can improve user satisfaction, productivity, and business results. Consider adopting the Google HEART framework and the Goals-Signals-Metrics process to systematically measure UX success, then automate, streamline, and optimize. Good luck!
And if you're interested in seeing what auto-form-fill and real-time ID authentication can do for your customers' mobile banking experiences, learn more about our Mobile Intercept solution.
 https://library.gv.com/how-to-choose-the-right-ux-metrics-for-your-product-5f46359ab5be#.q9sdythva. For an academic paper on this framework, see http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/research.google.com/en//pubs/archive/36299.pdf