Usability Metrics Explained: What to Track and How

Usability Metrics Explained: What to Track and How cover

Usability metrics are the pulse-check for your product’s user experience that lets you know if your SaaS product is user-friendly or not.

But what are these metrics? And how can they provide a goldmine of insights to improve UX design?

Let’s explore what usability metrics are, their role in SaaS businesses, and which metrics you should be tracking right now.


  • Usability metrics help you understand how users are interacting with your product. It measures the quality of a user’s experience when interacting with your product or service.
  • Usability metrics are important because they can help identify issues that matter, prioritize improvements in your product optimization plan, track progress over time, make data-driven decisions, and improve customer satisfaction.
  • Before choosing the right usability metrics for your business, you first need to understand the different measurable elements of usability. They include:
    Effectiveness: Evaluate if users can achieve their goals using your product.
    Efficiency: Considers the resources that are expended by your users in order to reach their goals.
    Satisfaction: Measures how happy or satisfied your users are after their interaction with your product.
  • That said, there are 8 key metrics that any SaaS business can use:
    Task success rate: The percentage of tasks accomplished successfully by users.
    Number of actions: Counts the number of steps a user takes to accomplish a task.
    Time on task: The total duration a user spends on a specific task.
    Time-based efficiency: The speed at which a user can complete a task.
    Number of errors: Reflects the number of errors users make while attempting to complete tasks.
    Number of help requests: Counts the number of times users requested assistance during their tasks.
    Task-level satisfaction: Measures the user’s satisfaction at the task level.
    Test-level satisfaction: Assesses a user’s overall satisfaction with your product based on whole sessions.
  • Since Userpilot can help you track usability metrics and implement improvements without coding skills, why not book a Userpilot demo to see how you can optimize your app’s usability?

What are usability metrics?

Usability metrics are quantitative data that measure a product’s user-friendliness, effective interactions, overall relative efficiency, and satisfaction. And it’s used to understand a product’s capability to provide a satisfactory user experience.

And while usability and user experience are closely related, they’re not the same. The former focuses on how effectively, efficiently, and satisfactorily a user can interact with a product. On the other hand, user experience is broader and not only comprises usability but also involves other elements such as value, adaptability, and desirability the user feels with the product.

usability metrics vs UX
Difference between usability and UX.

Why are usability metrics important?

Usability metrics offer unfiltered insights into how users interact with your product—highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of your product experience.

But more than that, usability metrics are essential for the reasons described below.

Identify issues that matter

Usability metrics provide quantifiable data that points out precisely where the user experience is falling short. This way, rather than relying on guesswork or anecdotal evidence, these metrics shed light on specific issues like areas of your platform where users are struggling, tasks taking longer than expected, or places where help is most frequently requested.

Plan product optimization

Since usability metrics use quantitative data, they can help prioritize issues based on their impact on the user experience. This way, you can strategically focus your improvement efforts on areas that will most significantly enhance the user experience, thus allocating resources efficiently when optimizing the overall product usability.

For example, if there’s an issue with your sign-up page, you might want to address it first and optimize it—just like Userpilot’s signup page that’s optimized for easy navigation:

userpilot signup page usability metrics
Userpilot’s signup page.

Track progress

Tracking usability metrics helps you watch your product’s evolution. Since it provides you with data-driven insights into user behavior and interaction, you can objectively measure the overall product effectiveness over time.

This way, you can visualize the product enhancements, quantify the impact of changes made, and determine the direction for future product optimization.

Make informed decisions

Usability testing provides an objective report on the performance of your product, enhancing your decision-making process with user-backed data.

This makes usability metrics great for A/B testing, as instead of relying on instinct or conjecture, you’ll be able to evaluate the effectiveness, overall relative efficiency, and level of satisfaction with all variations of your product directly and make real progress in your product’s performance.

ab test usability metrics
A/B testing usability metrics with Userpilot.

Improve customer satisfaction

If you leverage usability metrics to improve your product’s user experience, then your customer satisfaction metrics will inevitably soar as a result.

The reason is simple: the easier it is to use your app, the more users will be able to complete tasks and achieve goals—thus, more users will feel satisfied with your product and stick around.

What are the types of usability metrics?

Now, before measuring usability, you first need to understand its fundamental elements, as these determine what combination of metrics you should follow in your business.

In our take, usability has multiple elements that can vary from each school of thought. These can include learnability, errors, memorability, efficiency, satisfaction, and more.

elements of usability metrics
Elements of usability.

With that said, there are three main usability elements you should be familiar with. Let’s discuss them below.


User effectiveness refers to how the product UX helps users complete tasks that lead to their goals.

Ask yourself:

  • “Can users complete their tasks?”
  • “Did they face any obstacle or mistake while performing a task?”
  • “How many errors need to happen before a user can complete a task successfully?”


Efficiency refers to the amount of effort and mental energy required to complete a task with your app. For example, how long does it take to perform a task, and how complicated it is to complete it?

One way to measure it is with customer effort score surveys (CES):

CES survey
Source: Hotjar.


Customer satisfaction, in the context of usability, is qualitative data about how satisfied users feel about the product. Are they comfortable using it? Do they need a better experience? Are they delighted by the product’s ease of use?

For this, customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys are one way to measure how satisfied customers feel with your app.

8 key usability metrics for SaaS

Once you know the type of metrics you need for either effectiveness, efficiency, or satisfaction, you can start choosing the right usability metric for your business.

That said, let’s go over the eight most essential ones.

1. Task success rate

The Task Success Rate is a metric for effectiveness that indicates the percentage of completed tasks by users with your product. In SaaS, it can help you understand how easy it is for users to complete tasks, as well as task difficulty.

To calculate it, you divide the number of tasks completed by the total number of attempted tasks and then multiply by 100 to get a percentage. This result tells you the effectiveness of your user interface and guides you in improving user experience.

However, if you were to measure the effectiveness of your onboarding process, for example, you’d need to break it down into smaller tasks and track the success rate for each step so you can identify where users struggle specifically.

onboarding checklist
Creating an onboarding checklist with Userpilot.

2. Number of actions

The number of actions is an efficiency metric that refers to the number of steps a user must execute to reach a specified goal within the product. It tracks the level of effort being exerted by users, so the higher the number of actions, the less user-friendly the UX is.

Measuring it is a matter of counting the active steps taken by a user from the moment they start on a task up until it’s completed. The aim is always to reduce this number to make the user journey smooth, efficient, and enjoyable.

number of actions usability metrics
Breakdown of user actions.

3. Time on task

Time on task gauges how long it takes users to complete a specific task within your SaaS app. It’s another indicator of efficiency and interface simplicity, so the shorter the time to complete a task, the better.

To measure it, simply record the time from when a user starts a task to the moment they finish. This metric can then be used to streamline processes and increase usability efficiency.

4. Time-based efficiency

Time-based efficiency is based on success rate and time on task, and it measures how efficiently a user can complete a task within a specific time frame. In SaaS, it provides direct insight into user experience by demonstrating how quickly tasks can be completed by users.

The formula of time-based efficiency involves multiple elements where:

N = The total number of tasks among every user

R = The number of users

nij = The total sum of tasks completed by the user

tij = The total sum of time spent by users to complete each task (including the time it takes for the user to quit the task in case they failed)

The result of the formula below will refer to the total amount of time it took users to perform tasks within your app.

Time based Efficiency

5. Number of errors

The “number of errors” measures when and where users encounter usability problems during their interaction with a given product. It’s useful for finding where users make the most errors so you can prevent them by optimizing the UI, adding disclaimers, fixing dead clicks, removing unnecessary steps, etc.

For example, look how Google adds a short excerpt of text to help users create a strong password. This way, users are less likely to create an invalid password that’s too short or insecure—creating a frictionless customer experience in the process.

usability excerpt
Google’s short message for better usability.

6. Number of help requests

The number of help requests measures the frequency with which users request assistance or seek additional information about the product. It’s useful for gauging customer understanding and confidence in using a product, as support tickets can be tagged to indicate areas within your app that may be causing confusion or difficulty—hence requiring improvement.

It can be quantified by closely monitoring support channels, such as live chat, support tickets, or even knowledge base analytics (for which you can use a tool like Userpilot to get actionable data).

resource center analytics userpilot
Checking knowledge base analytics with Userpilot.

7. Task-level satisfaction

Task-level satisfaction focuses on the user satisfaction level after completing a specific task within an application. It’s useful for understanding the pain points and strengths within the users’ experience, allowing you to make the correct improvements for product usability.

Measuring this satisfaction metric involves triggering surveys after a user completes a task. These surveys are often short and scale-based, so they can gather quantitative data. Examples include a Single Ease Question (SEQ) or an After Scenario Questionnaire (ASQ).

The direct approach not only ensures that results are immediate and relevant to the same task but also provides more accurate feedback for user satisfaction.

task level satisfaction survey
Task-level satisfaction survey made with Userpilot.

8. Test-level satisfaction

Test-level satisfaction gauges the overall user feelings after finishing a usability test session with your product. So, different from task-level satisfaction, it measures the level of satisfaction with the entire product instead of specific components or tasks.

It’s typically measured by sending a longer survey after the test tasks are over, and it can include questionnaires like the System Usability Scale (SUS) or Standardized User Experience Percentile Rank Questionnaire (SUPR-Q), which involve multiple scale-based questions where users can rate their experience with your app or test tasks.

Improve usability metrics with Userpilot

Although you can code your way to track usability metrics, using a specialized tool is always going to cost less money and time.

That’s why we recommend Userpilot—despite our obvious bias—since it’s a cost-efficient product management tool to track essential usability metrics and improve the user experience (without coding).

Here’s how Userpilot can help you improve your product’s usability:

  • Get a deep user experience understanding with analytics charts such as funnels (to spot friction points), trends (to understand what brings value across different plans), and paths (to draw the product journey of your users).
  • Send a great variety of in-app surveys such as CSAT, CES, and NPS surveys. Use advanced survey analytics to tag and filter user responses based on recurrent themes and keywords and save time analyzing responses.
  • Use feature-tagging and event-tracking to analyze user behavior and identify friction points.
  • Segment your users based on their data and personalize the customer experience.
  • Analyze feature usage with feature heatmaps to understand product adoption and which areas of your product bring value to your users.
  • A/B test different in-app flows to see what kind of content generates more engagement.
  • Build an in-app resource center to offer self-service support to users 24/7.
nps response tagging
Tagging NPS responses with Userpilot.


Tracking the right usability metrics for your business goals is crucial for product managers.

These key indicators not only help identify areas for product improvement but also track processes, guide decision-making, and boost customer satisfaction. With the eight usability metrics stated, you can now start measuring and enhancing your product’s usability.

So, if you want to take proactive steps to improve your product, why not book a Userpilot demo to see how you can optimize your app’s usability?

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