Looking carefully, we see that those measurement practices are tied to obtaining only a quantitative usability measurement — the number and magnitude of design best practices violations. That will restrict potential product enhancements to only functional changes that boost the users' experience by improving the user interface. But usable applications are not enough to evaluate the quality deficit of a solution.
Recent insights from Emergn's own experience showed that one of the most effective ways to measure design debt is to track how people use a solution (pragmatic) and how users think (hedonic) about it. To achieve that, we paired a UX Expert Review
, supported by Jakob Nielsen's 10 general principles for interaction design
, with design debt calculation to serve as a diagnostic method to help designers and product managers measure both pragmatic and hedonic design investment opportunities through the prioritization of design debt efforts.
There are several ways to measure design debt, each addressing a particular purpose. Most practices focus on the idea of operationalizing the compliance of source codes with fundamental design principles. In this scenario, design debt is seen as the total amount of user-facing inconsistency in a digital solution that impacts the integrity of the user experience.
Despite that, this approach will produce guidance for software developers and designers that only considers usability considerations through the design improvement process.
Design debt can make your product look unprofessional, dated, or too difficult to use. There are several factors that condition users' comfort and acceptability of use. First, an experience doesn't exist only when a user interacts with a product, there are cognitive factors that condition a user before and after their engagement with a solution.
An experience is made up of a series of personal judgments grounded in a journey whereby a person discovers, purchases (or not), experiences, and takes part in a service or solution. This journey creates in the user a feeling of how well the business is meeting their needs. So, the user does not take only the interface quality into consideration when evaluating the quality of a solution. A number of pragmatic and hedonic characteristics dictate how a user perceives the quality of an experience. For that reason, usability is attitude (hedonic) plus action (pragmatic).