1. Home
  2. Docs
  3. Getting Started Guide
  4. Severity Scoring

Severity Scoring

To make your results from Vempathy more actionable, we generate severity scores for each of the tasks that you define in your UX tests. To better understand severity scores we used an industry standard as our basis, the Nielsen Severity Score. Learn more, as it is described on the Nielsen Norman Group website:

Severity ratings can be used to allocate the most resources to fix the most serious problems and can also provide a rough estimate of the need for additional usability efforts. If the severity ratings indicate that several disastrous usability problems remain in an interface, it will probably be unadvisable to release it. But one might decide to go ahead with the release of a system with several usability problems if they are all judged as being cosmetic in nature.

The severity of a usability problem is a combination of three factors:

  • The frequency with which the problem occurs: Is it common or rare?
  • The impact of the problem if it occurs: Will it be easy or difficult for the users to overcome?
  • The persistence of the problem: Is it a one-time problem that users can overcome once they know about it or will users repeatedly be bothered by the problem?

Finally, of course, one needs to assess the market impact of the problem since certain usability problems can have a devastating effect on the popularity of a product, even if they are “objectively” quite easy to overcome. Even though severity has several components, it is common to combine all aspects of severity in a single severity rating as an overall assessment of each usability problem in order to facilitate prioritizing and decision-making.

The following 0 to 4 rating scale can be used to rate the severity of usability problems:

0 = I don’t agree that this is a usability problem at all
1 = Cosmetic problem only: need not be fixed unless extra time is available on project
2 = Minor usability problem: fixing this should be given low priority
3 = Major usability problem: important to fix, so should be given high priority
4 = Usability catastrophe: imperative to fix this before product can be released

Was this article helpful to you? Yes No