Best Practices for Defining Success
So now what I want to do is kind of talk about the last thing here which is defining success right. So all this stuff is really fun. It's fun to kind of figure out the goals. It's fun to kind of talk about users. But it's really important that everyone's on the same page about how are we measuring what success is right? How do we even define what that looks like? So what are some of the questions that you should ask? First is just what does success look like to your client? You know sometimes they'll have very specific ideas about that. Other times they never really thought about that. Right they never really thought about like beyond the launch and how they can revisit it. And say like was this successful or not? What does success look like to you? And this is more of a personal thing. You know kind of as someone that's contributing to the project, it's really good to internalize that and realize what do you or your company getting out of this? Right you know. Maybe some of the stuff ...
is like, it's a really great project. It's such an awesome client to be associated with. Sometimes it might be a boring. It's cash flow and so that's okay. These are all realistic things that you end up having to juggle. But it's important to just make sure you're asking that as your team and as yourself. Are these criteria realistic? You know if you're kind of talking to your clients and they have really high expectations then now's the time to talk about them and say hey I don't know if we're gonna be able to achieve this. And part of that goes into if there's a marketing and advertising strategy. Right so say what they want is they want to have a lot of eyeballs on the site, it's really important. That's something that's gonna be really key. Well with that if they don't have any kind of marketing or advertising strategy you know there's only so much you're gonna be able to do right? So just bring that up. If there's not that component then it's gonna be a little tough to kind of get people there. One of the terms that you may hear when you talk about success criteria is something called KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. And these are essentially kind of like measurements used to evaluate that success. And I like to think of them very simply as quantitative versus qualitative. Right so that kind of makes sense. Quantitative is gonna be much more about what kind of data that you're pulling. Right what are some of the site visitors? You know the great thing about something like a website as opposed to say something like print is that there's so much stuff we can kind of tease out and understand what users are doing. Right we can measure just about everything. So with that there's a lot of opportunity to kind of adjust and tweak the experience to hopefully get things more efficient. And then on the qualitative side, you have much more of that little harder to measure but no less important. Things like brand awareness. Insights, press and awards. What are the things that you feel aren't necessarily just data driven but they really kind of hone in that the experience is something that users are excited about and they're talking about, they're having conversations about. As a quick example. So we're all familiar with LinkedIn. More specifically like a LinkedIn profile page. So I want to show kind of an example where it's LinkedIn plus my cat. This is The Butler. I want to introduce my cat The Butler. So this is like his mugshot here. So if we were to think of my cat's profile page. So on the quantitative side, you have those skills and endorsements. So he has 56 endorsements for sleeping. Right pretty good. 45 for eating, pretty good. 43 for looking unimpressed right. (laughing) 18 for WordPress. So he's a very smart cat right. So--
It's really accessible. It's really written well. So a lot of people can get in there.
And The Butler's pretty smart. So I think if you look at that. That's where if you look at someone's profile, you're just looking at numbers. They don't mean anything except how many. So you're just like oh wow that person has 83 for this. That gives some level of credibility even though you always kind of go through. And you're like why did that person endorse me? I never worked with them. Okay that's cool. That always kind of seems to happen where you're just like okay, you're just looking at pure numbers verus qualitative. Qualitative might be more something like the recommendations. Someone's taken the time, they know you, they've worked with you. And so now they want to really kind of give a sense of why you're so awesome. Much more of a qualitative assessment. The Butler brings his breadth of experience to any challenge, right that is a good cat. His ability to rapidly acquire new skills, cross disciplines and solve hard problems in any domain made for a very productive collaboration.
Breadth of experience?
Breadth, cat breath. I actually think I tried to like--
Breath of experience.
Find one of yours and just change the names.
That'd be awesome.
Okay so what's key about all of this is to first define your goals. There's so many things that you can monitor. But first you want to define what it is that you're trying to measure. And then choose the appropriate KPIs to monitor. You don't want to try to monitor everything. And that I think a little bit of a trap. It's just like let's just monitor it all and we'll just see some numbers and hopefully they're going up. But that's kind of like a little bit of scattershot type of solution. Yeah exactly, it's like try to get a little granular. You can look at different types of sites and figure out some examples. What would success look like and then what would be the KPIs? So this is a site for a kind of meet up group we started in Oakland called Oaklean.com. And we created the site and the whole idea was just to group to help bring designers and developers together in the East Bay. So we might see success as we want to increase members by 25% in the next year and we want to receive five speaker submissions in the next year. Maybe that's what success looks like for this site. The KPIs we might look at might be site traffic, unique versus returning visitors, emails from speakers. You know are we actually getting stuff from speakers. And say like meetup.com memberships because that's where actually people join. So a lot of the when you RSVP and stuff it kind of takes you over to there so you can RSVP. So here now we have a very clear clean way to understand what success is and kind of filter out some of the things that aren't as important. Here's another one. This is more of a narrative site. This is a project I worked on called Warink.org. And this was kind of a really great site that combined say veterans using their tattoos as a way to tell their stories and in doing so create a bridge between say civilians and veterans. You know the artwork, the kind of tattoos themselves allowed for this conversation to happen. And so it was this kind of long form narrative story that was divided into chapters and had these different themes and topics that explored the tattoos of 24 different veterans. So with something like this, they wanted to say you know what success for us is press and coverage, we really want to reach as many people. we want to kind of get it out there. It's an art site. We want to see that people are responding to it. That it's getting good press and good coverage. And we also want to make sure that people are staying on it. You know the average visit is three minutes. And this is something that also requires a conversation. Is three minutes realistic? Because believe it or not three minutes in internet time is a long time. So our attention span in the last years has gone from 12 minutes to five minutes or something crazy like that. So you know having that is kind of a question Maybe try to do a little research and see like okay I think that seems reasonable. So the KPIs we might want to measure would be something like social shares, time on site, story abandonment rates and media coverage from respected outlets. Now that could change for different types of experiences. So a store site, an eCommerce site might have very different things. But say for Ministry of Space, what does success look like for us? And I'm not saying we have to answer that now. But that would be where we'd want to go next. We'd have to define success. Probably have to do something about membership, probably have to do something about how we're showing maybe engagements on the site. Right because we'd want to show like yeah people are genuinely getting excited and we could kind of dive into what that would look like.