Crafting a Message Testing Framework for UX

Whether working in a large enterprise or a hectic agency setting, it can be a challenge to get product, marketing, design, and your copywriting staff to align on the most effective way to present a narrative. Most components of a digital user experience have a broad selection of metrics and insightful qualitative testing protocols to select from, allowing 360 degrees of insight into the effectiveness of an experience. Messaging does not, which created a whole lot of migraine-inducing challenges.





Testing Protocol



One Quarter

The Backdrop

My team recognized a disconnect; content that didn't resonate was slipping through to production without any serious review, potentially undermining the user experience. We could see that messaging submitted by our stakeholders wasn’t performing but we didn’t have any way to prove it, so the passthrough of copy into final designs continued without any of the rigor the rest of the UX process was subjected to. In a competitive business environment, this made us look bad, which negatively impacted both morale and the way other business units regarded our work.

We needed a way to measure content quality without disparaging stakeholders or negatively impacting cross-functional relationships. We needed a way to encourage conversation instead of compliance.



Untested Content in Publication



Impact On Team Reputation



Severe Damage to UX

The Opportunity

In the heart of the challenge lay the seeds of an opportunity: the chance to harness modern research techniques to define a key performance indicator for "good content." Our objective was clear: to establish a measurable, empirical standard that could assess the potential performance of our messaging at a glance. We envisioned a framework where a calculated score would not just be a number, but a narrative tool communicating to the business the efficacy of content: what was working, what needed refinement, and what could be eliminated. We could do this with real user input, giving our conclusions the weight of authority instead of opinion.

The opportunity extended beyond a simple measurement. We aimed to make message quality validation an integral part of the UX design core process, on par with creative briefs, usability, and accessibility testing. We sought to cultivate a user-centered and user-validated approach to messaging, ensuring that trust, authenticity, consistency, relevance, and value became the foundation of all our copywriting endeavors.

In essence, the opportunity was about unification—unifying the vocabulary of successful content with that of successful UX, thereby creating a harmonious and powerful user experience that resonated on every level.

The Solution

The Message Testing Framework emerged as a transformative means of redefining how we perceive and validate content effectiveness. Recognizing the limitations of traditional feedback mechanisms, which often left us navigating through ambiguity, this framework introduced a robust methodology for assessing message resonance directly with our users. By intertwining advanced research techniques and a rigorous data-driven approach, we sought to create a new standard for content evaluation—where decisions are not merely based on intuition but are informed by a comprehensive understanding of user preferences and behaviors. This endeavor not only streamlined our content development processes but also reinforced the significance of user-centricity in crafting messages that genuinely connect and engage.

Framework Components

The framework consists of two core components that provide integrated qualitative and quantitative evaluation:

  • Human Metrics: Based on the foundational work of Brady Jensen (CEO, Aggregate Insights) the human metrics focus on emotional and visceral responses. Collectively labeled Business KPIs, these pillars are derived through sentiment analysis of open-ended feedback using R.

  • Usability Metrics: Provide quantitative ratings on the emotional conductivity and overall clarity of the message. Participants rate specific criteria on Likert scales, with fractional scores offering data-backed insights. These scores are aggregated using a similar methodology to the User Experience Questionnaire.

Business KPIs Detail

Human Metrics examine qualitative aspects, evaluating whether content meets, exceeds, or does not meet expectations around five Business KPI pillars:

  • Uniqueness: Does messaging present a distinct perspective?

  • Durability: Does it have lasting impact as conditions change?

  • Provability: Are claims properly substantiated?

  • Value: Does it address user needs and interests?

  • Imperative: Does it compel immediate action?

The Imperative metric specifically determines if content carries urgency and priority that drives action. This distinguishes between awareness-building and action-oriented messaging. This fifth metric does not operate on a “good vs bad” axis but should be aligned with the type of experience being presented.

Usability Metrics Detail

The Usability Metrics provide quantitative assessment around four core areas:

  • Clarity: Understandability of information.

  • Care: User interest and concern for content.

  • Trust: Perceived credibility and authenticity.

  • Consistency: Alignment with user expectation.

An Integrated Framework

In this integrated framework, the Business KPI analysis based on emotional user responses unites with the Usability Metrics for a robust scoring approach. The methodology facilitates content design as a core UX process, ensuring alignment between UI visuals and messaging resonance. Above all, it enables a genuinely user-centric narrative strategy grounded in a shared language for content success.