Introducing the Effective Experience Scale

A method for rapid evaluation of digital products.

The problem:

Since our inception, Effective has provided clients with heuristic and competitive analysis on their digital products and experiences. We perform these tasks to help our clients uncover opportunities, measure their experience against competitors and get a baseline understanding of how their customers interact with the product. While these tools have been helpful, over the years we’ve observed a handful of problems:

• They’re subjective – depending on who performs the analysis, you could get very different results.

• They lack a consistency that allows for ongoing benchmarking and quick answers. When a client asks, “How do we stack up against the competition?,” historically we’ve had to perform a lengthy analysis to answer that question. However, the reality is we look at the same industries and tool sets repeatedly. Nobody should have to reinvent the wheel every time — not us or our clients.

• Lastly, and most important, the ad-hoc analysis that we’ve performed over the years was always specific to the problem we were tackling and didn’t focus on the totality of the customer’s experience with the product.

As practitioners, we became increasingly frustrated by these problems and knew we could do better.

Our solution: The Effective Experience Scale

Over the last six months, we’ve worked to define a new way to evaluate and benchmark digital experiences by using the Effective Experience Scale. Our experience scale was created using traditional evaluative criteria—heuristics, usability, accessibility—as well as the insights we’ve gained over 13 years of business. In the scale, we evaluate usability, visual design, content, and findability (both internal and external) using a series of binary questions that remove subjectivity from the evaluation. With these questions, we can evaluate any digital product. For our core client base — areas like financial services and healthcare — we created a set of industry and tool-specific categories to help us benchmark performance for the types of tools and products we see time and time again. This will allow us to quickly give our clients a current state assessment that can also be used to document and measure improvement over time.

Summary Results

When the scores are plotted, our clients can quickly see where their experiences exceed or fall short of the competition.

Usability Breakdown

In the past two months, we’ve successfully rolled out the experience scale to a select number of clients. Using the Effective Experience Scale, we’ve cut down the time it takes to do heuristic and competitive analysis significantly, turning these around in days and sometimes hours. We’ve helped clients plan their project roadmaps and make business cases by identifying areas of opportunity for improvement or competitive advantage. When this assessment is coupled with qualitative testing and review of quantitative data like analytics, our clients get a data-backed, holistic set of recommendations on where to focus their efforts when improving their product with a finite timeline and budget.

When you work with us, expect to see this tool deployed during the early stages of projects. If you are interested in learning more, or wish to use the Effective Experience Scale for an assessment of your own, please get in touch.