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Applying HEART framework

to UX Design

A lot of us tend to neglect applying frameworks to UX design. We decide on some changes and prefer doing A/B testing instead. I have nothing against this approach but I always consider its success probability same as flipping a coin. 

And I would rather use a framework. 


While there are many frameworks to choose from, I prefer the HEART framework. More so because it's used by Google. It was created by Kerry Rodden, Hilary Hutchinson and Xin Fu from Google.

The HEART framework breaks down user experience tasks into categories. And then help us define goals and success criteria for each of the categories. The categories are Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention and Task Success.

Let’s look at each of the categories in a little more detail.

This is related to user satisfaction and delight. What’s the perceived ease of use? What’s your NPS saying?
This is related to user involvement and engagement with your offerings. How frequently does the user visit your platform? Daily, weekly or monthly. How much time does he / she spend?
This is related to new user onboarding. How many new users signed up on your platform? If it is for a feature, how many started using the new feature?
This is related to old users staying. How many users came back? Are they daily active users? Or monthly active users? What’s the churn rate?
Task Success
This is related to task accomplishment. Every product or feature has some tasks that they want the users to perform. For search engines, it can be a user clicking on search results, For a marketplace it can be add to cart or checkout actions. One can look at what percent of users who searched actually clicked a result. Or how quickly an user could buy a product he liked on the marketplace?

So now you know why any UX activity will definitely fall into at least one of these categories. And this is true for the whole product or a small feature. 


When you start a project, you need to first identify the categories it’s going to impact. Is it targeted towards customer delight, more engagement, adoption, retention or task success? Your project can be aligned to more than one category. 


After deciding the categories, you need to set the goals. Goal setting can be a tough job. But it's important nonetheless. Let’s suppose your project is aimed towards Adoption. And you are revamping the Sign Up page. Your goal cannot be Increase in Signups. That’s because -

  1. It doesn’t say how improvement in user experience is going to help;
  2. If your company offers better discounts than competitors you’ll anyway have more signups.

Instead your goal can be to make the signup form more effortless.


Whatever goals you set for the project, make sure your team members are also aligned to it before you start.


After goals come the signals. Signals are basically triggers that tell you if things are going good or bad. They are behavior driven. Let’s say for the signup form you developed an autofill feature which prefills some fields like City, State, Country based on your geo-location. Or may be prefills the Sex based on the product the user was viewing. This is aligned towards your goal. The autofill feature will make your form more effortless. And signing up quicker.

But instead the geolocation captured is often wrong. Or may be the sex captured is wrong. And the users have to first clear the field and add the correct detail again. This is a bad signal. The additional task becomes frustrating and many users leave without signing up. Again a bad signal.


Choose signals that are sensitive to the changes you make in the design and the overall user experience. If you are not sure, do a product-survey or maybe collect data for multiple potential signals and see which of them are closely related to your goals.


Finally it’s time to choose the metrics. If you have clearly defined your goals and signals this should be easy. These are basically the data points you need to capture to summarize your signals and your goals. For our signup form, the metrics can be -

  • No of signups per user on the platform
  • Avg time for completing the signup process (You can compare this with the time taken before the project started)
  • No of times user cleared the autofill values / Total of times autofill applied


If you want a worksheet, you can use the table below.




That’s all folks. Until next time.

AuthorJoydeep Sil

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