Application usability

Tried everything to retain your application users, but still, there is no improvement in the retention rate of your customers?

A usable application is one that keeps customers coming back. If users struggle to easily use an application or find it frustrating, they are more likely to abandon it and seek alternatives.

With over a decade of experience in the field, Mallow has been dedicated to the success of businesses by providing custom software development services. We specialise in creating applications that excel in usability and encompass all crucial aspects necessary for growth.

After going through this article, you will be able to have a clear idea of what simple base metrics to track, how to track them, and how to assess the usability of your application.

Why it’s critical to assess the usability of your application

Assessing the usability of an application is crucial for ensuring user satisfaction, efficiency, error reduction, customer retention, and gaining a competitive advantage.

A usable application meets the needs of its users and provides an efficient, error-free experience. By assessing usability, developers can identify areas where the application falls short and make improvements to optimise its performance. A well-designed application reduces the likelihood of user errors and keeps customers coming back.

In today’s market, usability is a key factor in determining the success of an application and assessing and improving it can give a competitive advantage over other less usable applications. Overall, assessing usability is essential for creating a successful application that meets the needs of its users and stays ahead of the competition.

Wondering how an application’s usability can turn it more compelling? Check out our blog on the impact of usability.

What key factors should I keep in mind while assessing my application’s usability?

1. Learnability

Learnability refers to how easily and quickly users can understand and navigate the application, especially when encountering it for the first time. A highly learnable application minimises the learning curve for users, allowing them to quickly grasp its features and functionalities.

To assess learnability, one can examine factors such as the intuitiveness of the user interface, the clarity of instructions or tooltips, the availability of helpful documentation or tutorials, and the ease of performing common tasks. Learnability provides a user-friendly experience, enabling users to quickly become proficient and productive.

2. Efficiency

An efficient application optimises workflows and minimises unnecessary steps or actions, allowing users to achieve their goals swiftly. This can include factors such as the responsiveness of the user interface, the speed of data processing, the availability of keyboard shortcuts or automation features, and the efficiency of search and navigation functionalities. Considering efficiency, you can enhance the overall user experience and ensure that users complete their tasks quickly and effortlessly, leading to improved productivity and satisfaction.

3. Memorability

Memorability refers to how well users can remember how to use the application after a period of time or between sessions. A memorable application ensures that users can easily recall the steps, features, and interactions they previously learned, reducing the need for relearning and improving overall efficiency.

To assess memorability, one can examine the application’s consistency in design and layout, the presence of familiar patterns and conventions, and the availability of clear and concise labels or descriptions. By prioritising memorability, you can create an application that fosters user retention and trust, as users can easily pick up where they left off and navigate the application with confidence.


4. Error Tolerance

This refers to how well the application handles user errors and provides meaningful feedback to guide users towards corrective actions. An error-tolerant application anticipates and accommodates user mistakes, preventing frustration and allowing for a smoother user experience. It should provide clear error messages that precisely identify the issue and suggest potential solutions. The application should employ validation techniques to minimise the occurrence of errors, such as input validation and data integrity checks.

What are some typical metrics used for evaluating the usability of an application?

To start using metrics for evaluating the usability of your application, you will need to identify the specific metrics that are relevant to your application and its user base.

Using metrics to evaluate usability, developers can gain a more objective understanding of the user experience and make data-driven decisions to improve the application’s performance.

1. Usability Metrics for Efficiency

One common formula for usability metrics related to efficiency is the completion time:

Completion Time = Total Time to Complete Tasks / Number of Completed Tasks

This formula measures the average time it takes for users to complete tasks within the application. To calculate completion time, developers first need to identify a set of tasks that are representative of the application’s functionality, and time how long it takes users to complete those tasks.

The total time is then divided by the number of completed tasks to get the average completion time. This metric helps you identify areas where the application may be slowing users down or causing frustration and make improvements to streamline workflows and optimise task completion times.

The benchmark for task completion

The percentage of users who are able to successfully complete a set of tasks. A task completion rate of 70% or higher is generally considered to be good, while a rate of 50% or lower may indicate that the application is not user-friendly.

The benchmark for time completion

The average amount of time it takes users to complete a set of tasks. A time to completion of 2 minutes or less is generally considered to be good, while a time of 5 minutes or more may indicate that the application is too slow or difficult to use.

2. Usability Metrics for Satisfaction

System Usability Scale (SUS) is a standardised questionnaire that measures a user’s perceived usability of a system or product. The SUS consists of 10 statements, each with a 5-point Likert scale response format (ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree).To calculate the overall SUS score, the responses to the 10 statements are converted into a standardised score from 0 to 100 using the following formula:

(Sum of all responses – 5) x 2.5

The resulting score represents the overall usability of the system or product, with higher scores indicating greater usability and user satisfaction. The SUS score can be used to benchmark the usability of different products or to track changes in usability over time.

The benchmark for user satisfaction

The degree to which users are satisfied with the application. A user satisfaction score of 7 or higher on a 10-point scale is generally considered to be good, while a score of 5 or lower may indicate that users are not satisfied with the application.

The benchmark for retention rate

The percentage of users who continue to use the application after a certain period of time. A retention rate of 70% or higher is generally considered to be good, while a rate of 50% or lower may indicate that users are not satisfied with the application and are not likely to continue using it.

3. Usability Metrics for Effectiveness

3.1 . Rate of completion

Measuring the completion rate is a way to calculate effectiveness. This essential usability metric involves assigning a binary value of ‘1’ if the test participant successfully completes a task and ‘0’ if they do not. The completion rate is popular due to its simplicity and ease of understanding. It can be collected at any stage of development. By using this straightforward equation, effectiveness can be represented as a percentage.

Effectiveness = Number of tasks completed successfully / Total number of tasks undertaken by the user * 100

3.2. Number of errors

Another way to measure effectiveness is by tracking the number of errors made by the participant while attempting to complete a task. These errors can include unintended actions, slips, mistakes, or omissions. To properly analyse these errors, it’s recommended to assign a brief description and a severity rating and categorise each error accordingly. Although this process can be time-consuming, counting errors can provide valuable diagnostic insights.

The benchmark for Error rate

The percentage of users who make errors while using the application. An error rate of 5% or lower is generally considered to be good, while an error rate of 10% or higher may indicate that the application is not user-friendly.

By using a combination of these and other relevant metrics, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the usability of your application and make data-driven decisions to improve the user experience.

It is important to note that these are just general guidelines, and the best scoring range for each metric may vary depending on the specific application and its target audience. However, by tracking these metrics over time, you can identify areas where your application can be improved to make it more user-friendly.

What is the process of evaluating usability?

Step 1: Collect and analyse user feedback

While base metrics provide quantitative data, it’s important to complement them with qualitative feedback from users. Engage with your user base through surveys, interviews, or feedback forms to gather their insights and suggestions. Analysing user feedback helps to identify pain points, usability issues, and feature requests that can guide your next steps.

Step 2: Prioritise and set goals

Based on the evaluation results and user feedback, prioritise the identified areas for improvement. Define clear goals and objectives that align with your product roadmap and business strategy. Categorise the action items based on their impact on usability and prioritise those that will have the most significant user experience improvements.

Step 3: Refine User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)

Enhance the UI and UX of your application to address usability concerns. Simplify navigation, streamline workflows, and ensure intuitive interactions. Consider the information architecture, layout, visual design, and responsiveness across different devices. Incorporate user-centred design principles to create an engaging and delightful experience for your users.

Step 4: Conduct Usability Testing

Perform usability testing to validate the effectiveness of the improvements made to your application. Observe users as they interact with your updated interface and gather their feedback. Usability testing helps identify any remaining issues and ensures that the changes have indeed enhanced the overall usability of the application.

Step 5: Iterative Development and Continuous Improvement

Usability is an ongoing process, and applications should continuously evolve based on user needs and emerging trends. Adopt an iterative development approach that includes regular feedback loops, incremental enhancements, and user testing. Regularly monitor the application’s performance and collect user feedback to drive continuous improvement.

After evaluating the usability of your application, you might find yourself in one of two scenarios.

The first scenario is that your application has received positive feedback and is performing well in terms of usability. Congratulations!

However, if the evaluation reveals that your application has received poor feedback regarding usability, it becomes evident that significant improvements are necessary. In such cases, it is crucial to take the above steps to address the usability-related issues and provide an exceptional user experience.

Unlocking usability – From metrics to actionable improvements and beyond

You now have a better understanding of how to make the best use of the base metrics for evaluating the usability of your application. Make sure to keep a pulse on user expectations and industry trends to stay ahead in terms of usability. Stay informed about new technologies, design patterns, and emerging user experience standards. Regularly assess your application against evolving usability benchmarks to maintain a competitive edge.

Evaluating the usability of your application using base metrics is just the starting point. The real value lies in taking actionable steps to improve the user experience. By analysing user feedback, refining the UI/UX, conducting usability testing, and embracing iterative development, application owners can continually enhance their product’s usability and meet user expectations.

Remember that usability is a continuous journey, and staying committed to its improvement will lead to long-term success and user satisfaction.

Are you eager to assess the usability of your application using base metrics? The next step that you would definitely be wondering about is the cost of working with an application development company.

But before you finalise your contract with the development team, you will definitely have questions about what are the factors that application development companies consider before they finalise the cost they charge. How do they arrive at a so-called figure? Want such doubts cleared? Check out our blog and get a clear idea of How do application development companies determine the cost they charge?

Still unsure about your next step for fixing your application’s usability issues? Feel free to reach out to us.



Moniga is a dedicated and accomplished Associate Project Manager at Mallow Technologies. With her keen eye for detail and excellent organisational skills, she plays a crucial role in ensuring the successful execution of various software development projects.Having a passion for literature, Moniga finds solace and inspiration within the pages of books. Her love for reading not only expands her knowledge but also fuels her creativity and critical thinking abilities, enabling her to approach project management with a unique perspective. Her proactive approach, coupled with her analytical mindset, enables her to identify potential risks and devise effective strategies in all the projects she works.

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