User experience, Product management

HEART Framework

A comprehensive approach to understanding and improving user experience

Also called: HEART Model and HEART Evaluation Framework

See also: Empathy Mapping, Impact Mapping, Priority Mapping, User Story Mapping, Value Proposition Mapping

Relevant metrics: Happiness - User satisfaction with the product, Engagement - User interaction with the product, Adoption - Number of users using the product, Retention - Number of users returning to the product, and Task Success - User success in completing tasks with the product

In this article

How to calculate HEART Framework:

HEART = (H)appiness + (E)ngagement + (A)doption + (R)etention + (T)ask Success

What is the HEART Framework?

The HEART framework is a set of metrics that helps to measure and understand a product’s user experience. It consists of five metrics:

  1. Happiness: User satisfaction with the product
  2. Engagement: User interaction with the product
  3. Adoption: Number of users using the product
  4. Retention: Number of users returning to the product
  5. Task Success: User success in completing tasks with the product

Each metric provides a different aspect of a user’s experience.

Happiness is a metric that measures user attitudes or satisfaction. It is typically measured through user surveys and Net Promoter Score (NPS) values. An initial drop in happiness following a change does not necessarily have long-term implications, and long-term observation of metrics provides better data for decision-making.

Engagement is a measure of how much an average customer uses a product, based on quantifiable data points such as the number of sessions, time spent in-app, or the number of photos uploaded per user a day. The metric chosen depends on the product’s functionalities.

Adoption measures the percentage of existing users who adopted a specific feature or the product after signing up. In-product analytics like new purchases, upgrades, and new subscriptions are used to measure user adoption. Adoption involves both user experience and sales and marketing activities. A heavy investment in sales and marketing can overcome user experience problems in the short run, but in the long-term, a poor user experience is likely to discourage new users.

Retention measures how long users stay with a product. It helps to identify the time interval where dropouts from a service are most pronounced, and UX issues can be addressed. It is valuable when rolling out a new release or making substantial changes to the product’s features.

Task Success measures the percentage of successful completions of a specific task once it has begun, such as checkout or registration processes. It can also examine the time spent on any given task and identify whether the process can be improved. Remote usability testing and benchmarking studies are recommended for measuring these on a large scale.

Where did HEART Framework come from?

The HEART Framework is a framework developed by Google to measure user engagement. It was developed by Kerry Rodden in 2010, Google’s lead UX researcher at the time. It was introduced more broadly in 2012 as part of Google’s efforts to measure user engagement across its products.

The HEART framework was created to assist UX designers in concentrating on a few crucial user experience measurements. With various forms of usage data constantly streaming in, the framework’s creators recognized that designers could easily become overwhelmed, lacking a systematic way to assess user experience. Therefore, the HEART framework was established to help UX teams concentrate on a small set of simple-to-understand metrics.

Kerry Rodden devised the HEART framework, which was initially described in the abstract of a research publication by the company’s quantitative UX researchers. The primary purpose of the framework was to narrow the focus of UX design teams to a limited number of metrics and to objectively evaluate them. This framework assists UX teams in defining user experience goals and evaluating how changes to a feature or product impact users.

How do you use the HEART framework to measure and improve user experience?

The Goals-Signals-Metrics process is used to apply the HEART framework. The Goals-Signals-Metrics (GSM) framework is used to help identify and prioritize metrics aligned with the goals. The GSM process has three elements:

  1. Goals are broad objectives
  2. Signals are indicators that show progress towards the goal
  3. Metrics are quantifiable data points that indicate success or failure.

The Goals-Signals-Metrics (GSM) Framework

The GSM framework is a UX measurement framework that focuses on setting clear goals, identifying signals that indicate user behavior, and choosing metrics that can be used to measure progress towards these goals. The framework was developed by Jeff Sauro and James Lewis and has become a widely used method for measuring UX.


The first step in the GSM framework is to define the goals of the product or service. Goals can be anything from increasing customer satisfaction to improving user engagement. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Once the goals are defined, it becomes easier to measure progress towards achieving them.


The next step in the GSM framework is to identify the signals that indicate user behavior. Signals can be anything from the number of clicks on a particular button to the time spent on a page. These signals should be actionable and directly related to the goals that have been set. By identifying signals, it becomes easier to track progress towards achieving the goals.


The final step in the GSM framework is to choose metrics that can be used to measure progress towards achieving the goals. Metrics should be quantifiable, relevant, and aligned with the goals that have been set. They should also be easy to measure and track. By choosing the right metrics, it becomes easier to determine whether the goals are being achieved or not.

Combining the GSM Framework with the HEART Framework

The HEART framework can be used in conjunction with the GSM framework to provide a comprehensive UX measurement strategy. By using the HEART metrics as a starting point, it becomes easier to identify the goals that need to be achieved. For example, if the task success metric is low, the goal may be to improve the usability of the product.

Once the goals have been identified, the GSM framework can be used to identify the signals that indicate user behavior and the metrics that can be used to measure progress towards achieving the goals. By combining these two frameworks, it becomes easier to measure UX effectively and to make data-driven decisions that lead to continuous improvement.

Example of mapping GSM to the HEART Framework

As an example for inspiration, here’s typical inputs you could use to map out the HEART framework using the Goal, Signals, Metrics process:

HEART Acronym Example User Goal Example Signals Example Metrics
Happiness Feelings of enjoyment or delight User satisfaction ratings User satisfaction score (e.g., percentage of users who rate their experience as positive)
Engagement Amount of user involvement with content or features Number of clicks, views, or interactions with specific features Time spent on page, click-through rate, completion rate
Adoption Rate of new user onboarding and successful use of product features Number of sign-ups or user activations Time to complete onboarding, number of successful feature uses
Retention Ability to keep users coming back to use product over time Number of active users over a specific period Retention rate (e.g., percentage of users who return after first use)
Task Success Ability to efficiently and effectively complete tasks Number of errors or failures during task completion Task success rate, time to complete task

Using the HEART framwork to improve your product

Google’s HEART framework is a helpful tool for improving product performance. Implementing the following steps using this framework will help you achieve your goals:

  • Establish top goals. Prior to initiating your project, it is important to identify your key goals and have a system in place to track them.
  • Use onboarding and adoption tools. Utilize a product onboarding and adoption tool to monitor progress towards goals and trigger in-app flows based on user engagement and usage. This will allow you to build in-app interactions to achieve your goals.
  • Improve user happiness. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures user satisfaction and loyalty. To understand the reasons behind user satisfaction or dissatisfaction, conduct an NPS survey with a qualitative follow-up question.
  • Analyze NPS survey responses. Analyze and tag NPS survey responses to discover what is making users happy and what issues need fixing. Group customer responses based on themes to prioritize the most common issues to resolve.
  • Improve product engagement. Use different UI patterns that align with your goal to communicate with users in-app and help them engage with your product features. This includes using modal welcome screens, tooltips, and slideouts to highlight new features.
  • Improve product adoption. Utilize checklists to stimulate product adoption by driving users to engage with advanced features that give them additional value.
  • Improve retention. Use churn surveys to collect valuable feedback from users who downgraded or left their subscription. This feedback can be used to improve your product and drive retention up.
  • Improve task success. Utilize in-app interactive guides that walk users step-by-step to complete an action. These guides contain several tooltips that trigger actions in a sequential manner to ensure task success.

Frequently asked questions about the HEART Framework

When should I use the HEART framework?

The HEART framework is a useful tool for measuring user experience in situations where you want to evaluate the effectiveness of a product or service in meeting user needs. It can be particularly useful in the following scenarios:

  • New product development. The HEART framework can help you establish a baseline for measuring user experience as you develop a new product or service.
  • Iterative design. The HEART framework can be used to evaluate the impact of design changes on user experience over time, allowing you to identify which changes are most effective.
  • Performance optimization. The HEART framework can help you identify areas where your product or service is underperforming in terms of user experience, allowing you to prioritize improvements.
  • User research. The HEART framework can be used in conjunction with other research methods, such as surveys and interviews, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of user experience.

The HEART framework is a flexible tool that can be adapted to a wide range of situations where you want to measure user experience.

What is the objective of the HEART framework?

The objective of the HEART framework is to provide a structured approach to measure user experience (UX) metrics for digital products or services. It aims to help teams understand how users are experiencing a product or service by focusing on five key metrics: Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Task success.

By focusing on these key metrics, the HEART framework enables teams to identify areas where a product or service may need improvement, and to track the impact of changes made to the product or service over time.

Which team uses HEART framework?

The HEART framework can be used by various teams in an organization, particularly those involved in designing and developing products, services, or experiences for customers. This includes product managers, user experience designers, researchers, analysts, and other related roles. The framework is also useful for teams involved in evaluating and improving existing products, services, or experiences. Overall, any team that wants to measure and improve user experience can benefit from using the HEART framework.

Dedicated research teams vs cross-functional product teams

The HEART framework can be used by a dedicated research team as well as part of a cross-functional product team. In both cases, it can help teams measure and improve the user experience of their product.

If a company has a dedicated research team, they can use the HEART framework to conduct regular user research and measure the user experience over time. The research team can work with product teams to identify which metrics are most relevant for their product and set benchmarks for improvement.

On the other hand, if a company has cross-functional product teams, the HEART framework can be used to align everyone around a common set of user experience metrics. This can help ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and that user experience is prioritized throughout the product development process.

Regardless of the team structure, the HEART framework can be a valuable tool for improving the user experience of a product.

What is the difference between Pirate Framework and heart Framework?

The PIRATE framework and the HEART framework are both methods for measuring user experience, but they differ in their approach and focus.

The PIRATE framework stands for:

  • P: Acquisition
  • I: Activation
  • R: Retention
  • A: Revenue
  • T: Referral
  • E: Experience

This framework focuses on measuring user behavior at various stages of their interaction with a product or service, from initial acquisition to referral. The “E” in PIRATE represents the overall user experience, which is considered one of the six key metrics to measure.

On the other hand, the HEART framework focuses more specifically on measuring the quality of the user experience. HEART stands for:

  • H: Happiness
  • E: Engagement
  • A: Adoption
  • R: Retention
  • T: Task success

HEART focuses on these five key metrics to assess the user experience and identify areas for improvement. Unlike PIRATE, it does not include metrics related to revenue or referral.

PIRATE is a more comprehensive framework that includes metrics for user behavior, while HEART is more focused on the quality of the user experience. Both frameworks can be useful depending on the goals of a specific project or product.

Why should I use the Google HEART Framework?

There are several benefits to using the Google HEART framework, including:

  • Helps you focus on the user. The HEART framework is designed to measure the quality of user experience, helping you focus on what’s most important to users.
  • Provides actionable insights. By measuring the key components of user experience, the HEART framework helps you identify specific areas that need improvement.
  • Increases efficiency. The HEART framework provides a standardized and efficient way to measure user experience across different products and platforms.
  • Facilitates collaboration. The HEART framework encourages collaboration across different teams and departments by providing a common language for discussing user experience.
  • Improves decision-making. By providing data-driven insights into user experience, the HEART framework can help you make informed decisions about product development and design.

Using the HEART framework can help you create products that are more user-centered, efficient, and effective.

Not having the HEART framework in mind, what are ways of measuring the user experience?

There are various methods to measure user experience, and the choice of method depends on the specific goals and objectives of the evaluation. Here are some commonly used methods:

  • Surveys. Surveys are one of the most popular methods for collecting data about user experience. They can be used to gather feedback on specific aspects of a product or service, such as ease of use, satisfaction, or perceived value.
  • Interviews. Interviews involve one-on-one discussions with users and can be used to gather more detailed feedback on their experiences with a product or service. Interviews can help uncover user needs, pain points, and opportunities for improvement.
  • User testing. User testing involves observing users as they interact with a product or service and can help identify usability issues and areas for improvement. This can be done in a lab setting or remotely using specialized software.
  • Analytics. Analytics tools can be used to track user behavior on a website or app, such as time spent on page, clicks, and conversions. This data can help identify areas for improvement and inform design decisions.
  • A/B testing. A/B testing involves testing two different versions of a product or service with a group of users to see which performs better. This can help identify the most effective design or feature and inform future development.

The choice of method depends on the specific goals and objectives of the evaluation, as well as the resources available. It’s important to use a combination of methods to get a comprehensive understanding of user experience. This is where the HEART framework shines as it represents a well thought-out combination of methods to measure the user experience of a product.

What is UX benchmarking?

UX benchmarking is a process of evaluating the user experience of a product or service by comparing it to a set of predefined metrics and industry standards. It involves collecting data on user behavior, satisfaction, and performance over time to establish a baseline for comparison and identify areas for improvement.

The HEART framework is one of the ways to establish UX benchmarks as it provides a set of user-centered metrics that can be used to measure and evaluate the user experience. By using the HEART framework, you can identify the critical aspects of the user experience, track changes in user behavior and attitudes, and assess the impact of design changes on user experience over time.

When conducting UX benchmarking, it’s essential to establish a baseline for each metric and track changes over time to identify areas for improvement. By using the HEART framework, you can establish benchmarks for each metric and track changes in user experience, making it easier to identify the areas where the product or service needs improvement.



Google developed and implemented the HEART framework to measure user engagement and satisfaction with their products. They use the framework to track user engagement metrics such as time spent on a page, task completion rate, and user feedback. This helps them to identify areas of improvement and prioritize product development.

Relevant questions to ask
  • How will the HEART Framework help me achieve my goals?
    Hint The HEART Framework can help you achieve your goals by providing a structured approach to problem-solving and decision-making. It can also help you identify areas of improvement and develop strategies to address them.
  • How will I measure the success of the HEART Framework?
    Hint Success of the HEART Framework can be measured by assessing the effectiveness of the strategies implemented, the impact of the changes made, and the overall satisfaction of stakeholders and customers.
  • How will I ensure that the HEART Framework is used consistently?
    Hint To ensure that the HEART Framework is used consistently, it is important to provide clear guidelines and expectations, as well as regular training and support.
  • What are the potential challenges associated with using the HEART Framework?
    Hint Potential challenges associated with using the HEART Framework include: difficulty in understanding the framework, lack of resources, and difficulty in implementing the framework.
People who talk about the topic of HEART Framework on Twitter
Relevant books on the topic of HEART Framework
  • Quantifying the User Experience: Practical Statistics for User Resea by Jeff Sauro & James R Lewis (2016)

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