At our most recent ‘Box Lunch, Lydia and Jenny provided great insight into using analytics data to make informed decisions about maximizing the user experience. So, why is user experience important? There are lots of reasons, but I think in simplest terms, happy users turn into happy clients. Anybody out there not interested in happy clients? Of course not.
UX and analytics are topics that I really like talking about. I pretty much geek out on data and using that data to make decisions that will actually create value for your clients, instead of just playing the guessing game. The Google game that we all have to play changes constantly, so tracking and regularly reviewing your analytics data is not just important, but necessary to ensure your website has both the functionality and content needed to be relevant in the eyes of search engines. “Back in the day”- as they say - it used to be enough to simply throw up a website so that you have some sort of web presence. But now, if you neglect your user by creating a website that is difficult to use and doesn’t provide the information they were searching for, don’t count on those search engines to have any kind of love for you.
Lydia provided a few basic questions to consider as a starting point when thinking about the user experience for your website:
- Where on the site are users frustrated?
- Do users know where to find what they are looking for?
- How do users complete a task? (i.e. fill out a form, register for an event, learn more, etc.)
- What information is most important to users?
To get these questions answered, there are a variety of nifty tools we recommend that will give you great insight into how users are interacting with your site and where the problem areas may be. They vary in price and in how you use them to get the user data you are looking for, but they are an integral part in understanding and improving your user experience. There are several tools out there, but Lydia’s favorites are Usabilla, Loop 11, and Five Second Test.
Analytics data also provides great insight into your user. Looking at analytics can often feel like information overload, so Jenny did a great job explaining where to start and what to look for. A couple tips: make sure you have the right date range selected for the time frame you want to look at, and remember that you can select multiple date ranges to compare month to month, year over year, etc.
Some key metrics that you want to look at:
- Mobile Use- The number of people using mobile devices to search the Internet is growing every month. It is very important to get clarity around mobile traffic to your site.
- Top Pages- Understanding which pages users visit the most on your website gives insight into the content people are looking for.
- Navigation Paths/Summary- This data tells you how users move around on your website. You can see the path a user takes to get from one page to another.
A couple other factors to consider in analytics data are goal tracking and campaign tracking. Goal tracking helps you see if people are doing what you want them to do on your website. Campaign tracking helps you analyze the value of marketing efforts like email and banner ads.
If all this talk of analytics is making you feel like you are back in college in an advanced statistics class, take heart. The Google Analytics Learning Center is a great resource for continued learning. And your friends at SmallBox are always happy to answer any questions you may have!
I hope these tools and tips will give you motivation to think more about the user experience you are creating on your website. Let us know how we can help!