Improving the User Experience with Web Analytics
A quantitative approach to UX that shouldn't be ignored.
By Graeme Watt, 13 December 2017
Analytics are unarguably crucial to every website; they inform us what is working well and equally what is not, allowing to us to double down in our successful channels. In addition, they can highlight areas of improvement on our website and even be used to inform UX decisions in the future.
Analytics are the building blocks for measurable improvements on your website.
So how can analytics assist with your UX?
User Experience or UX as it is known is all about making a user’s life easier and reducing the difficulty in the task they are trying to complete. User friendliness is a term you may be more familiar with and this is similar to UX.
UX practitioners are highly skilled individuals who research what users want and need, they use a diverse range of methods to gather this data. It is fair to say that these methods are often based on qualitative evidence. We often see techniques such as usability testing, focus groups and interviews being employed. These are highly successful ways of working and have been tried and tested over the years, however, focusing only on qualitative data means you are largely overlooking vast amounts of quantitative data.
This data which is numerical by nature is most common in the form of analytics. It is not a case of one or the other and quantitative should be used to support your qualitative data, this provides a fuller picture of your users.
Qualitative data will generally inform you why users are doing something whereas quantitative data will tell you what users are doing.
So what are the advantages of using analytics for your quantitative data?
Analytics is the perfect complement to other testing methods
The great thing about analytics is they are readily available at any time and can fit in at a variety of points in your UX testing. Analytics data can provide potential problem areas within your website which can then become the focus for usability testing.
So you now have your test but who are you going to test? Demographic information gathered from analytics can be used to help build your personas or inform your recruitment process.
It provides hard facts
Qualitative data is great but is often subjective and can be interpreted
It’s fast and cheap
Opening up analytics and getting an answer can often be done in under a minute; in addition, Google
The data is unique
There is no shortage of information in even a basic analytics package, Google Analytics has nearly 100 reports readily available that can be called upon and enterprise solutions offer even more. Not to mention the ability to create custom reports that can be completely tailored, the possibilities are almost endless.
To get this much data from qualitative work would take years or even longer. An additional benefit is the longevity of it, most other methods test your site at a certain period of time yet analytics consistently collects data over time which again provides far more insight.
To overlook quantitative data in your UX methods would be a mistake. The data is the perfect complement to your qualitative data although I would warn against simply using only the data to make design decisions.
If you would like to discuss how Zen can use UX methods to improve your website or app please get in touch as we would love to have a chat and show you some of our previous work in this field.