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UUX Urgency Curve

copertina uux urgency curve

The urgency curve is an artifact of usability analysis and user experience (UUX) studies.
In short, an urgency curve is a graph that allows you to show which are the most relevant usability problems that impact the users on the current user interface, highlighting those that are most deserving of attention and need to be addressed with greater priority, or, in fact, urgency. In the following notes, we delve into what an urgency curve is and how it is constructed.

How to draw a urgency curve?

First, identify the usability problems you have found in the analysis and evaluation phases of your UI together with the interviewed users. Each usability problem will represent a point on the urgency curve.

Next, evaluate, for each identified usability problem:

Frequency: How many times and by how many users has a particular error been committed in interacting with the UI for a specific use case? For example:

  • Committed by few users, very rarely -> low frequency
  • Committed by many users, often -> high frequency

Impact: What impact did that problem have on the user experience? For example:

  • It prevented the user from enjoying the functionality, perhaps even leading to an unintended consequence -> high impact.
  • It distracted the user but did not prevent the use of the functionality -> low impact.
uux urgency curve example english

This simple urgency curve allows us to evaluate the 5 usability problems found during the evaluation phase of the UI.

We immediately see that problem E4 causes a significant impact on the user experience and is also an error with a high frequency (often committed by many users). Therefore, it is a usability problem that needs to be addressed with priority.

For example, we notice that problem E5 seems to have a low impact on the user’s use of the functionality, and it is also committed at a low frequency, so it is ultimately a less central problem compared to the others.

Notes on Usability & User Experience Design – Urgency Curve.

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