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May 16, 2009: User experience and web analytics

As part of my work on the site search analytics book, I've begun learning about the way that web analytics people, like my co-author, Marko Hurst, think. It's different than us user experience people, and quite complementary. In fact, though it's added some lag to finishing the book, I think the final product will be much better. I have half a brain, Marko has a different half, and both are needed.

So I've begun to make the case for a more unified practice of web analytics and user experience. In fact, doing one without the other is probably a short-term waste of resources and a long-term recipe for your product or service becoming obsolete. I've started to scratch the surface in a presentation given a week or so ago at the Janus Boye Philadelphia conference and, earlier today, at the IA Konferenz in Hamburg (Keynote slides below).

One issue that came up at today's talk: we would probably all benefit from a dashboard of reports that included the ones that we've come to expect from our analytics tools, but that also include other quantitative reports (such as from help desk logs) and, perhaps more importantly, qualitative reports from such sources as ongoing usability testing. The presentation of these various reports could be designed to support better integration of the results from quantitative and qualitative research. For example, questions that arise from the former are often answered by the latter, so perhaps the dashboard would visually make the connection between the two.

Is this happening now? I think some of the analytics applications are starting to incorporate CRM reports, but I'm really out of my range here. I'd love to find some examples of dashboards that go beyond the basic behavioral data that are typically addressed by analytics tools. Suggestions?

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Comment: ellen (May 17, 2009)

Very cool presentation! I went to a Info Arch Summit last year and I did go to one session on WA. I especially like the idea of using instincts and designer experience here.

Comment: DJ (May 18, 2009)

Hi Lou

This is a very valid & timely presentation.

We are trying to achieve some sort of integration between WA & UX in our team at work (I work for a large UK tour operator, names withheld etc!) I think historically in agencies and on the client side the issue has not been so much of different *thinking* but of being siloed. It's similar to the debates IAs are likely to have had with web designers and software developers about 7 or 8 years ago.

Over time as the craft of each discipline improves (and there's been a super-fast improvement in Web Analytics imho since the likes of Avinash K, Eric P, Dennis M et al have been making bigger waves) there's a watershed where people get less afraid of peeping above the parapet.

This is the point where you realise that actually both siloes are headed towards the same goal, and it becomes less of a turf war and more about making 2+2=5.

So, for me, it's almost totally a team management issue. If you can get your team to head for the same goals and use the same measures to assess the quality of their work, then there is no problem (he said confidently :)

BTW, hope to say hello tomorrow night in London.


Comment: DJ (May 18, 2009)

Oops, Weds night. Of course!

Comment: Ron (Jun 1, 2009)

Great minds think alike...


Why is your company losing money online? Answer: Gaps between experts.

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