Ways to measure success for “conceptual” UX Design projects

3 metrics to help recent grads define success

Phylicia Flynn
2 min readSep 27, 2020

Breaking into the UX Design field after a bootcamp can be challenging. Most companies are looking for a few years experience and projects that have “shipped” (i.e. it’s an actual product on the market). They also look through your portfolio and want to see how your design was successful and the end of the day.

But if you’re a recent grad like me, you’ve probably asked yourself:

“how exactly can you measure success of your designs that have not shipped?”

The usual metrics can’t apply to your conceptual projects since there are no real customers and business data available. You can’t outline how your new onboarding increased new users by X% or how the new designs improved retention rate or increased monthly active users. Yet having these hard numbers to back up your design are crucial.

If you plan ahead, you can incorporate the following 3 metrics to create a comparison during your final usability test:

Success Rate

This is the easiest metric to track. When assigning your participants task, keep track of how many users and how many tasks were successfully completed. Nielsen Norman recommends giving partial scores to the tasks to a partially completed task.

Success rate can then be translated into a percentage by giving 1 credit to successful task, 0 to failed tasks and 0.5 to partially completed task. Add them together and divide by your total number of tasks and multiply by 100.

Task Completion Time

This metric measures the time it takes a user to complete the task from start to finish. It does get a little tricky, especially if you are asking your test participants to think aloud. However if you are working on a particular solution, this is a good method to compare your first usability test to your last usability test.

It is easiest tracked if you video record your sessions and can go back to the recording to get an accurate time.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

While the other two metrics mentioned are quantitative, NPS is qualitative. It measures the overall satisfaction of your participants. At the end of your usability test, ask “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend [product] to a friend or colleague?”

Answers from 0 to 6 are considered Detractors. Answers 7 to 8 are considered Passives. Answers 9 to 10 are considered Promoters.

To calculate your NPS, subtract the percent of Detractors from the percent of Promoters. This will give you a sense of overall satisfaction in a percentage.

Have questions or just want to chat? Don’t hesitate to reach out!

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Phylicia Flynn

Interior Designer transformed into UX/Product Designer. NJ transplant living in the Midwest. Has an affinity for dogs, spicy food and coffee shops. phylicia.co