Why do we focus on measurable impact?
A question we often get asked in the early phase of a project focuses on the KPI’s we can attach to the end product. ‘X’ downloads, ‘x’ sign ups, ‘x’ star rating on the app stores. While these are great indicators of the quantitative success of a project, they need to be combined with a range of other metrics in order to get a holistic picture of a product’s success.
Summarily, it can be common to think about measurable indicators of success as those that directly contribute to the project’s revenue generation ability - key absolutely, but there’s often more success to be found hiding just around the corner.
What is measurable impact?
We define measurable impact as part of a larger scope of success indicators, it includes all of the great things like downloads and sign-ups, but it also looks at factors of societal impact, or a product's ability to serve a currently underserved community.
Take, for example, an app that connects people living with a range of disabilities to hobby and sports facilities within their region. If the app is being developed by a for-profit, or privately funded body, taking into account signups and revenue generation is a key metric to monitor, as it increases the ability for that service to continue to be offered. No cash means no app, and no app means no intercommunity links.
But, in addition to these, we would also suggest that some of the most important metrics to monitor come from the impact the app is having on the lives of its users. In the discovery phase, these metrics can be set out by exploring potential user personas.
An example user persona created by Arch
User personas are key for exploring indirect metrics of success for users. Perhaps in the case outlined previously, we can suggest that user ‘A’, let’s call her Sally, has been struggling to get out of the house and find community-based activities since she began using a wheelchair 1 year ago.
Success for the app, in Sally’s case, looks predominantly at whether or not she can access the services offered, how easy it is for her to access them, and if she has had an uptake of in-person participation of community groups within her area.
For the community groups, the indirect metric of success may be an increase in users or attendees, which has resulted in increased funding levels for their activity or group.
In this case, success is measured by a much larger footprint than just that directly about the app’s downloads or income. It can be easier to explore it in this way:
Direct KPIs and measures of success allow for the product to demonstrate its success by looking at factors which will allow the service provided by the product to continue on a profitable trajectory.
Indirect measures of success demonstrate the impact the product is having on variable factors, which are obtained through the generation of strong user numbers, but are not necessarily linked to profitability.
A balancing act
Striking a balance between these two factors is essential for the long-term success of any digital product. The direct KPIs feed the bottom line, and the indirect measures of success feed the hunger for the service, caught in a constantly revolving loop of interaction with each other.
More sign-ups> more income > new features > new services > more impact > more exposure > more sign-ups
In distilling down the metrics we can place, increased importance on indirect measures that will ultimately feed the success of the product in a myriad more ways that could have been conceived at its inception.
What do they look like in practice?
We look for indirect measures of success in all of the projects we work on, it fits as part of our company values to do so, but we’ve selected a few for you to explore below that we think demonstrate a wider impact on users of these products than just those attributed on download or access.
The Getahead app was developed to encourage awareness of and application of enhancing mental health with physical activity and athletics. They make it possible for users to develop mental skills that were previously only available to elite athletes by giving them a training environment for doing so.
This focus on mental health in combination with physical health culminates in a unique experience for users, where by measurable impact for them is seeing the positive changes within their everyday mindset that contributes to a positive mentality, not just to exercise, but extraneous activities with wider-reaching impact.
Check out more from Getahead and download the app here
For more than 50 years, Coeliac UK has helped people with coeliac disease and other gluten-related disorders live happier, better lives. They accomplish this by trying to enhance the quality of gluten-free food available in more places, providing unbiased, dependable guidance and assistance to their community, and funding crucial research to not only control the symptoms of gluten but also identify the causes of coeliac disease.
Coeliac UK approached Arch intending to replace their current product, which at the time was made up of two apps with different functionalities, with a single app experience. This was core to achieving the main objective of the new app was to make using it easier for the user by giving them access to all the information they needed in one place.
The indirect measurable impact of the app manifests in users' ability to have a safe space complete with reliable information, that allows them to increase their quality of life, be that through general enjoyment of going to restaurants and knowing the food they can eat will be on the menu, or being able to make informed decisions try new products with the safety of the barcode scanner, helping to remove some of the anxiety that can come from living with a newly identified dietary condition.
Check out more from Getahead and download the app here
Family Lives was established by volunteers more than 40 years ago to give all parents a safe refuge before they reached a crisis point. Families can get help from them with problems like family dissolution, difficult relationships and behaviour, debt, and emotional and mental well-being. We assisted them in launching a new web presence that will support their effort to create a healthier family life.
For this service, the indirect measurable impact is immense, from the reduction in anxieties in finding support to promoting an assured outlook on the issues that can come about during a family's developmental stages.
The impact has been so significant here, that Family Lives has now entered into a second phase of development, increasing their ability to continue to deliver exceptional services to their users and reach a greater portion of their audience with a more tailored service.
Read more about our work with Family Lives here
Your auditory system turns off its hypervigilance and stops paying attention to background noises coming from both inside your body and the world outside when you feel safer. With this in mind, the Quieten app was created to provide tinnitus sufferers with access to treatments that will lessen their symptoms. Quieten is an aesthetically appealing iOS and Android app that is jam-packed with helpful suggestions, informative information, and practical assistance for those with tinnitus.
Having specific information is essential for reducing the symptoms of tinnitus because the condition and its triggers can have a variety of causes. To increase the specificity of information, we introduced an interactive tinnitus matrix that analyses user symptoms to categorise the severity of their condition, allowing them direct access to advice that will directly help their case. This was done to help ensure users have access to information that is as specific to their requirements as possible.
The app has seen great success, but it’s important to note the experiences of users as equally important to its reach, reading through personal analogies, you can understand the impact it’s had in helping people feel assured that their condition is manageable and that a community of support is available for them.
Read more about Quieten here