What is User Effort In Digital Products

March 25, 2022

User effort refers to the number of steps or interactions in a digital product’s one function complete. The average conversion effort required to complete a user flow is one of the main determinants of usability. It is also a relatively new digital product metric. 

User effort should be taken into consideration because it is easy to measure and its results can be actionable: when you know that your users are having trouble converting, you can diagnose the problem and design the necessary improvements in the process.

Most metrics focus on how many users succeed in the user flow, but this metric also focuses on the number of efforts, or interactions required by a user to complete a phase. This can be useful to identify hidden paths, as well as to see which tasks are most difficult for users to accomplish. 

We will explain what effort actually is in digital products and how you can better use it to improve your user flow designs in this article 👇🏻 👇🏻 

What Is Customer Effort?

Customer effort means to capture how difficult it is for users to accomplish a specific phase of a user flow. It is also named as friction, or even difficulty.

Effort is a measurement to quantitatively measure the effort a user exerts to accomplish a task. In many senses, the concept is straightforward: when several interactions are required to accomplish a step, it is a strong indicator that the step is difficult to perform. 

There are different methods to measure the effort of a user. First, you can count the number of interactions required by the typical user to accomplish a step in your user flow. Second, you can simply ask to learn the subjective side. 

To measure the effort with the first method; you need to count the number of interactions a typical user needs to perform a step in your flow. If users spend several minutes trying to complete a task, such as signing up or completing a checkout, it’s a low usability product design. Some information that is critical to users is confidential and they are browsing around to find out what to do next. There may be scenarios where multiple interactions are required in a digital product, but there is often a way to simplify multi-step tasks.

Easy steps: high conversion, low effort. Complex steps: high conversion, high effort. 
Low motivation: low conversion, low effort.Difficult steps: low conversion, high effort. 
Customer Effort Matrix

As a result, the effort required to complete your flows is an expression of how difficult it is for your users to perform each step you create. Roughly, a categorization can be made as in the table above. Accordingly, the tasks in the user flow are divided into four as easy, complex, low motivation and difficult.

The main goal is always to increase the easy steps. Complex steps can be divided into multiple parts so that they pass to the easy steps side. It is necessary to increase the motivation required to take the efforts in the low motivation section to the easy steps section, for this, methods such as sending free guides to those who fill out the form can be used.

Difficult steps, on the other hand, are the ones that should be the least and always aimed to be reduced. If there is no way to streamline the process and increase motivation, you might consider skipping that step altogether and replacing it with a new solution. 

How To Reduce User Effort?

One of the best ways to reduce user effort and get them to complete more conversions more easily is to make sure you provide enough useful and relevant information to your users so that they don’t have to do additional tasks to achieve their goals. You should provide enough information to users without having them read through pages of documents. Good ux writing practices can help here.

Second, breaking down large and time-consuming tasks into two or more small steps can make the user flow more understandable and keep the user motivated. People are more motivated when given small, simple tasks to complete. You can even break down processes on a daily or weekly basis. The goal here is to always control the user’s flow and make the tasks more manageable and less intimidating.

Last but not least, one of the most important ways to lower user’s effort  and increase usability; offering more self service solutions. According to Harvard Business Review research, self-service solutions are more prefered. 81% of customers attempt to solve problems themself before reaching out to a representative. 

In today’s fast-paced, on-demand world, consumers prefer to solve problems on their own, rather than being carried away by tedious procedures. Often, business owners rely solely on their agent as the first and last person for their customers. As a result, customers’ questions and problems are not resolved.

Self-service refers to the ways in which customers can resolve their problems and requests without involving a business’s customer service department. Self-service is communication between customers and businesses via the internet, phone, email, mail, etc. Communication through various media such as Forms and self-help articles can be a good place to start offering self-service solutions.

To Sum,

Overall, the effort as a metric is a good basic barometer for measuring customer satisfaction. It should be used in conjunction with other, more nuanced questions and surveys to gain a complete picture of what one’s customers would change about your product.

Once you have determined your user effort scores, it’s important to consider how you can improve your product based on that feedback, whether through revamping of existing features or creation of entirely new ones. This way, the work you do in improving the product will keep your customers satisfied and engaged. 

The bottom line is this: in order to create products that your customers will love, you have to understand how they feel about the product you’ve created. That means understanding their perceptions of the product’s completeness and their willingness to pay for it.

Both of those factors are affected by customer effort, and that’s why measuring customer effort is an important aspect of the product development process. By setting up a process to measure customer effort, then using that data to make decisions about how to improve your product based on feedback from your customers, you can keep all of them happy.

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