A UX Intro to Web Analytics

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UX designers often follow their instincts when it comes to making user interfaces easier to use. After all, we are people too, so we sort of know what people want, need, and anticipate.

Having great instincts allows us to be good at our jobs and anticipate certain behaviors from our users. Having great instincts also allows us to have insight in the form of heuristic evaluation, and leverage the findings of user studies to improve our designs.

In contrast, when dealing with analytics, we are dealing with cold numbers. How can numbers help us understand people better? Even for designers who are new to Analytics there is valuable insight to be collected, you don’t need to dig too deep into the different paths users take through your site to gain at least some valuable knowledge to improve their experience.

Here are some of the things a UX designer can look for when reviewing analytics:

THE OBVIOUS PAGES

What I call “Obvious Pages” are pages which the user gets to by clicking something obvious. For example, “Create a Profile” takes a user to a profile creation page. In a perfect world, these pages should have 100% conversion rate, meaning – all users who arrived at this page proceeded to create a profile. After all, they arrived at this page by clicking an obvious link with one goal in mind.

If an obvious page doesn’t convert as much as you’d expect, your clues to the problem would be on this page itself or the page linking to it. The UX issues affecting the conversion rate on an obvious page might be:

The user is presented with an interface that makes them change their mind

  • The content on the page is unexpected
  • The page is complicated

The user clicks on the link accidentally

  • The link is placed in an unexpected location, perhaps among other links of a different nature
  • The link is placed in an inconvenient location on a mobile device, clearing to accidental clicks while scrolling

PAGES WITH HIGH TRAFFIC & HIGH CONVERSION RATE

Even if they are not of high importance in the grand scheme of your site, pages of high traffic indicate that something is working, the following could be the catalysts for high traffic:

The SEO on the page is a catalyst to a high rank within organic search.

Ask yourself:

How can we leverage this content on high importance pages?

The layout of the page is engaging to users and better aligns with the brand so they stay longer and engage more.

Ask yourself:

How can layout and messaging be adjusted on high importance pages?

Positioning and “lead in” to high conversion elements on the page may be utilized better.

Ask yourself:

How can we “lead in” better to engage users on high importance pages? 

 

AND FINALLY, HIGH IMPORTANCE PAGES

These are the pages you are focusing on for UX optimization.

Ask yourself:

How do these pages differ from high success pages in terms of layout, messaging & content?

Though analytics are numbers and statistics, they can give us invaluable insight into the motivations and reactions of our users, this insight has invaluable implications on the steps we need to take to adequately optimize conversion and create a more engaging experience. And although even looking at Google Analytics can be daunting at first, with all the options that are available, we can take a few quick steps to get started and start using our user’s behavior to improve their experience.

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