Does anyone know of any research papers or applied forms of Cyclomatic Complexity in UX research? Especially in terms of the resulting complexity score being used as a metric for KPI input on UX effectiveness.

I've been scouring the internet for things, but so far have only managed to find things regarding to software/QA testing and not necessarily UX research.

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    Not sure they can really be mapped quite one-to-one, the internal complexity of a service isn't necessarily apparent in the user-facing interfaces.
    – Ben Brocka
    Jun 28, 2013 at 13:04
  • Ben is right. Somehow usability is about not exposing the full complexity of the <whatever> to the user. Moreover, it'a about neutralizing it, without patronizing the user.
    – Juan Lanus
    Jun 28, 2013 at 16:48
  • I feel like we're not talking about the same thing. I'm not talking about about measuring how much complexity is exposed or what the ratio of that is. What I am hoping to find is an application of the theory of cyclomatic complexity applied in user task analysis. I.e.: an interface has a level of complexity for the user to perform a certain task. Subsequent iterations of that interface can affect that level of complexity. Are there any existing examples of measuring interface complexity in such a way?
    – Allard
    Jun 29, 2013 at 11:12
  • I haven't seen any research on it, or even if its a considered metric for good usability. From a developer point of view there are plenty of automated code analysis tools for measuring this, but I can't see how viable it is for measuring it on UI. It'd definitely have to be manually done. It'll be interesting to see any kind of results on this.
    – micap
    Jun 30, 2013 at 23:32

1 Answer 1


This is certainly an interesting are for exploration, but I think the focus of Cyclomatic Complexity on testability and maintainability in code does not align well with usability, in so far as the user's goal is not generally mastery of every possible path through the program.

However, the Wikipedia article you reference points to the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test as a conceptually similar approach for readability, which is a well-developed concrete form of usability and may form a more fruitful basis for your research.

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