How to Use Single Ease Question (SEQ) to Measure Usability

How to Use Single Ease Question (SEQ) to Measure Usability cover

Any product manager can deploy a feature into production – but what’s the point of all that hard work without getting into the participant’s mind and understanding whether it’s usable or not?

The Single Ease Question (SEQ) can be your key to understanding usability. It’s an easy way to gain a simple version of the truth, cut through data, highlight problematic spots, and identify areas that could be made more user-friendly.

If you want to learn more about this tool for understanding feature usability and explaining any behavioral changes, let’s get into it!


  • A Single Ease Question (SEQ) is a simple yet effective method of quantitative usability testing. SEQ measures how easy or difficult a user finds different tasks on a scale of one to seven.
  • Using the single ease question has some key advantages: it’s simple, fast, reliable, and sensitive to changes (i.e. you can issue them each time a user attempts a usability task).
  • There are some drawbacks to consider, too: subjectivity and limited depth of understanding for complex products.
  • You could do an SEQ after market research, to understand friction points, at vital touchpoints in the journey to understand satisfaction, and after feature launch to understand perceived usability.
  • The average SEQ score for SaaS is 5.3 and 5.6.
  • Best practices for effective SEQs: keep them plain and simple, launch them contextually, and combine them with other research methods (i.e. asking a follow-up question, session recordings where a user attempts a task).
  • Of course, there are many more metrics to track: things like NPS, CSAT, task completion rates, and more. It’s about building a balanced view.
  • Want to build SEQ surveys code-free? Book a demo with Userpilot to get started!

What is the single ease question (SEQ)?

A Single Ease Question (SEQ) is an incredibly simple yet effective method for measuring user experience with a system usability scale. They enable you to quickly assess the usability of a product. They’re typically used after a user completes a specific task.

The SEQ asks users directly:

“Overall, how difficult or easy was it to perform this task?”

Users then respond to this question on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (very difficult) to 7 (very easy).

Screenshot of SEQ
An example of a SEQ.

Pros and cons of using the single ease question (SEQ)

Now we’ve covered what an SEQ is, let’s unpack the pros and cons.


  • Simple, easy, and cheap to carry out. The SEQ is a single question with a clear and concise format, making it very simple for participants to understand. You can use it to get a clear indication of what the results mean and generate actionable insights.
  • Accurate, reliable, and specific. Because the data is gathered immediately after completing a task, it’s been found to be just as accurate as other usability methods to build a general sense of perceived usability.
  • Efficient. SEQ can be administered quickly and efficiently, making it a time-saving option for usability studies. It usually elicits a high response rate.
  • Sensitive to changes. SEQ can detect small changes in usability. It can be used to measure the impact of design changes or to compare different versions of your product over time.


  • Limited depth of understanding. SEQ provides a general overview of usability but may need to be combined with other research methods to draw out in-depth qualitative insights into the specific reasons why users found a task difficult or easy.
  • Subjectivity. Unlike other forms of usability analysis (i.e. something generating more quantitative data), using an SEQ depends on how a user perceives cognitive tasks – this can be inherently unreliable.
  • May not be sufficient for complex products. Although SEQ results are perfectly reliable and can help you identify areas for improvement, for particularly complex products you might want to conduct other tasks generating more usability information.

When should you use the single ease question?

When would you utilize a single ease question template versus other sorts of usability studies?

During market research to identify user pain points

UX researchers often use SEQ surveys to conduct market research with customers using a competitor’s product.

It can help unpack how users feel about given features, which pain points remain unresolved, and generate ideas for new feature development (i.e. it at least makes sure they’re experimentally validated).

After quantitative usability testing to identify friction points

If you want to get granular into understanding perceived workload, you could use an SEQ after every step of multi-stage usability tests. It’ll show you exactly where users are struggling, areas of perceived ease, and areas of perceived difficulty (or friction).

Screenshot of SEQ in Userpilot
Building a SEQ in Userpilot.

Upon vital user experience touchpoints to gauge customer satisfaction

Another opportunity to trigger this question is closely tying it to key steps in the customer journey.

That data will help you to reveal how important product experiences meet user expectations. It can show you how a user’s experience changes over time: the simplicity of an SEQ can generate valuable data.

Some examples of distinct touchpoints you might want to target:

  • Completing the onboarding process.
  • Interaction with a customer service agent.
  • Interacting with key features for the first time.
Screenshot of SEQ in Userpilot
Launch SEQs after key touchpoints.

After product launches to measure the perceived usability of a new feature

You can also utilize this question to gather insights immediately after a new feature launch to verify there are no major bugs or other usability issues.

The average score from this simple but powerful subjective mental effort questionnaire can be a surprisingly effective tool for understanding exactly how a new feature lands.

Screenshot of SEQ in Userpilot
The sliding scale is an easy way to understand usability after a launch.

What’s the average SEQ score?

As we’ve covered, the SEQ score is a fairly standard user experience metric. Understanding the average response across the industry is an important benchmark for your customer success manager to bear in mind.

So what is the average?

Tracking more than 400 tasks across 10,000 users, the average SEQ score found by MeasuringU was between 5.3 and 5.6.

Best practices for collecting insights with SEQ

How do you ensure you gather the most effective user responses and make the best use of your SEQ scores?

Next up, some practical tips.

Use plain and simple language

The fastest way to disengage users is to confuse or frustrate them: simplicity is key. They’ve already got all their tasks to deal with, and you don’t want to add to their to-do list.

So, keep the questions easy to understand. Avoid jargon or complex terminology that might confuse participants.

Trigger the SEQ question contextually to get good insights

Next, don’t randomly dump the single ease question in.

If you think about the peaks and troughs in the emotional experiences of your users going through a journey, you’ll get a much more effective source of data if you contextually launch your surveys as closely to task completion as you can.

This sort of real-time feedback is often far more reliable than other metrics – it’s proven to be just as accurate as more detailed qualitative studies.

Screenshot of Userpilot - SEQ
Linking SEQs to specific events is a powerful tool available in Userpilot.

Use other user research methods to qualify the SEQ data

UX research is a fast-growing and evolving discipline. Understanding the way people interact with software interfaces and the journeys around them is undeniably valuable.

While SEQ surveys have their positives, the fact they are subjective and self-reported doesn’t tell you why. There are other ways of collecting data:

  • Follow-up question. Immediately follow the SEQ with a relevant ‘explainer’ question.
  • Post task questionnaires. You could launch into more detailed questionnaires to understand the ‘why’ behind an answer.
  • Usability studies. These are a type of test session (or psychological research) where you observe users working through an activity and monitor task completion rates.
  • Session replays. Watch an attempted task completion journey back to understand where users struggle.
  • Product analytics. The only quantitative data we’re talking about on this list, analytics gives you cold hard facts and data about how users are interacting with your product.

How does this look in practice? People may perceive a task to be easy, but your analytics may show a large number of people dropping off or failing to click through to the next step.

Screenshot of CRO reports in Userpilot
CRO reports are a great option for an alternative understanding of usability.

Other usability metrics to track along with the SEQ score

As mentioned earlier, there are other usability metrics you might want to monitor:

  • Customer satisfaction score. This takes the form of a survey where users rank their satisfaction from 1 to 5.
  • Net Promoter Score. A proxy for customer loyalty where users select how likely to recommend the product they are.
  • Subjective mental effort. A single-question survey that asks respondents to rate their subjective mental effort (i.e. how they perceive the difficulty).
  • After-scenario questionnaire (ASQ). A 3-question scale is used to assess how difficult a user-perceived task has been as part of a usability test.
  • Task completion rate. What proportion of all the tasks in a workflow can a user complete?


That just about wraps things up!

Hopefully, you now have a rock-solid understanding of what an SEQ is and how you can deploy it to build a quick and effective understanding of usability.

Want to build product experiences code-free? Book a demo call with our team and get started! Check out the banner below for more information.

previous post next post

Leave a comment