A simple framework to measure ROI for UX

November 20, 2021 | Read Time : 3 mins

The six steps for justifying better UX, Forrester says that for every $ 1 invested in UX, a company has a return of $ 100. In another study, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) estimates that more than 1 trillion dollars is invested in IT projects each year and 15% of projects are abandoned before they are completed. This negligible number of failures equates to a loss of 37 billion dollars. Yes, a lack of proper UI can be expensive.

As User Experience designers see the inherent value in improving the experience of products and services. The value of design and how it has impacted the website can be calculated with different metrics. This ensures to keep a check on ensign improvements and get an adequate Return on investment from design.

NN group mentions these four steps to calculate ROI:

  • Gather a UX metric in a benchmarking study
  • Choose a KPI
  • Convert the UX metric into the KPI
  • Report the calculation responsibly

Gather a UX metric in a benchmarking study

A product or website equivalent digital asset can be known by its one main feature or multiple features. In a benchmarking study, it is important to figure out which feature to focus on or take the entire project under review. The benchmarking study can be achieved by

  • Surveys
  • Research
  • User interviews
  • Market research
  • Competitor analysis
  • User personas

For the case of ROI based on UX, we will focus on metric samples such as

  • Surveys or questionnaires distributed during testing
  • Analytics
  • Quantitative usability testing
  • Customer support
Usability testing
Customer Support
Satisfaction ratingFrequency of return visitsFrequency of return visitsCustomer- support tickets
Ease-of-use ratingFeature usageFeature usagePhone calls, chats, emails, texts
Perceived usabilityNew accounts or visitorsNew accounts or visitorsTraining hours required
Questionnaire scores
Returning visitorsRenewal rate
Completion rateCompletion rate
Error counts & rateError counts & rate

Choose a KPI (Key Performance Indicator)

A KPI is an essential tool to achieve desired goals. KPI helps the company refine and justify their plan, which they most care about. Choosing a KPI is to bring everyone in the team/company together to achieve the same goal, which ensures the growth and performance of the company.

KPI depends upon the company’s long-term and short goals.

Examples of KPI:
  • Profit
  • Cost
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Employee-Turnover Rate (ETR)
  • Employee productivity
  • Donors & donor growth

KPIs can also be measured in terms of value by design or user experience. The ROI cares about how the design impacts what the company cares about. Here stakeholders have to think about aligning both user and KPIs

For instance, UX KPI can be % of people subscribed to the newsletter. The underlying business goal is that by subscribing, the customer has also enabled notification and has provided an email address indicating the consent to be engaged and communicated with.

Here the business goals aligned with customer goals ensure the company collects emails of potential customers, and users get exposure to services by the brand.

Convert UX metric into KPI

ROI of the UX is when one metric is converted into another metric. This metric presents how the design impacted the growth and business performance.

Conversion rate/ratio is when a customer visits the website, completes a course of action, and signs up for the newsletter. Here the conversion rate can be easily calculated.

For example, 30 people visit the website and 20 people sign up for the newsletter. Here the conversion rate is 66.6%.

Calculation: Conversion rate = (conversion/total visitors)*100

In other cases, the conversion rate calculation can be complex, as every metric is not related to how many users are signing up, but what is their experience and action, and how it impacts the company goals.

Report Responsibly

As mentioned above, different metrics are calculated with their formulas. Conversion rate and dwell time cannot be calculated with the same formula and presented in the same chart.

The documentation of the research and findings has to be as detailed as the team wants, it should not just show figures but how and why it happened.

Here at OriginUX, we believe in documenting research that is strong and visually presented.
For example:

Here is an example of how the user interview was documented for an e-learning website project.

Guide on how to measure in a framework:

The HEART framework by Google is one way to calculate one feature or the entire website ROI from UX.

HappinessUsers find the app helpful, fun and
easy to use
table-dot Responding to survey
table-dot Leaving 5-star ratings
table-dot Leaving user feedback
table-dot Net Promoter Score
table-dot Customer satisfaction rating
table-dot Number of 5-star reviews
EngagementUsers enjoy app contents and keep
engaging with it
Spending more time in the app table-dot Average session length
table-dot Average session frequency
table-dot Number of conversions
AdoptionNew users see the value in the
product or new feature
table-dot Downloading, launching app
table-dot Signing up for an account
table-dot Using a new feature
table-dot Download rate
table-dot Registration rate
table-dot Feature adoption rate
RetentionUsers keep coming back to the app
to complete a key section
table-dot Staying active in the app
table-dot Renewing a subscription
table-dot Making repeat purchases
table-dot Churn rate
table-dot Subscription renewal rate
Task SuccessUers complete their goal quickly
and easily
table-dot Finding and viewing content quickly
table-dot Completing tasks efficiently
table-dot Search exit rate
table-dot Crash rate

To learn more about Google’s HEART framework, visit the blog where we extensively explain how the framework works and help in calculating metrics of small features to the entire website.

The importance of UX design cannot be overstated; pie charts and sophisticated computations cannot do it justice. Remember this the next time you visit Disneyland or use Google; there are successful organisations that have established their reputations on design thought.

“We need to stop worrying about proving the value of design and just focus on outcomes that provide value”

– Denis Weil

For many businesses, embracing UX design is as simple as replacing bad design. Poor design can result in costly and time-consuming support calls, as well as lost revenue and increased development costs. The Covid-19 epidemic has resulted in numerous success stories of well-designed experiences and applications assisting individuals and businesses.

Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the entire premise of questioning design’s return on investment and start constructing a better world?


OriginUX Studio


Team OriginUX

OriginUX Studio is a CoE for User Experience providing UI & UX across Product, Service and Customer Experience Design. We are a cross-disciplinary design team that loves to create great experiences and make meaningful connections for businesses and their users through UI & UX.

Founded in 2016, our larger purpose is to help brands understand what they want to do and where they want to go. To do that we have to make understanding customer experience simple, effortless, and affordable for everyone.

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