I’m working on a sort of UX snapshot for the beginning of a project. It will be used (hopefully) to engage clients with metrics and other tangible things that will inspire them to spend a bit to make a bit. Today I looked at analytic tools and these were the notes I wrote to remember what I learnt. First I had to set the scene so I knew what I was looking for in the online apps, and then I listed out the best in class.
My prerequisites were: they had to be easy to use, create lovely looking reports and graphs that would be presentable for clients and they had to be hosted online.
“As part of the UX snapshot/current state if the client doesn’t already have any analytics information, an analytics tool would be placed on the client’s site for at least 1 week to measure their current state. We’ll also use a combination of other online tools to measure their market data, search rankings and performance in comparison to their competitors (load time, page ranking), as well as the state of their front end code.
The most important information from an IA usability point of view is to know is what pages visitors are going to, how long their staying and what pages their entering and leaving from. Once the most used pages are established though using an analytics tool a heat mapping program should be applied to them to see what the users are clicking on, and what their not clicking on. To get even more in depth you can record their movements on a page (like a screen cast) and see how many are making it all the way through a page or a task.
Other good info from the analytics tools are is where do they come from, search terms they use to get there and what their browser/os set up and geo location.
The tools that best do this and are free or have low cost entry (so for a 1mnth trial) are as follows.
For a quick analysis you want one that’s hosted and free/very low cost. You should be aware that some analytics tools will use the code you put on your site to launch advertising pop ups. You want on that tells you about your visitor’s movements through your site, your most popular pages and trends over time. Also where they came from search terms and where they left, and how long they spent.
http://www.w3counter.com Free covers all the bases with pro features for larger visitor numbers
“You shouldn’t need training to figure out your web stats program. W3Counter is your free, hosted website analytics solution for answering the key questions about your website: who’s your audience, how they find your site, and what interests them. There’s no installation, no configuration, and tracking starts as soon as you copy-and-paste a snippet of code into your website.”
http://www.google.com/analytics/index.html Free easy to use, focus on adwords and conversions
“Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you’re more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.”
http://www.getclicky.com/ Comprehensive (includes twitter analytics), and delivers a white label API $9.99 US a month
“Clicky blows all other analytics packages out of the water. Hands down the easiest and fastest way to keep a pulse on your website activity.” — Sam Zaid, gazaro.com (it really does)
http://www.histats.com/ Free and comprehensive
Market research data and site rankings:
http://www.alexa.com – Free web traffic metrics, top sites lists, site demographics, hot urls, and more. Another snapshot.
socialmeter – Check your website’s social popularity on sites like Digg Furl, Jots, and more.
Compare the site against competitors
Webslub – Compare your site’s load time performance to any other site.
Rate the front end code.
IA and Usability tracking
http://crazyegg.com/ $9.00US for a month for up to 10,000 users (requires code to be pasted into site)
Find out: Where are ppl clicking? Where are ppl from certain sites clicking? Find out more about the elements on screen
http://www.clickdensity.com Free trial of 1 page for free for 30days otherwise £2.50 month for 10,000 visitors
More basic version of crazy egg, but has the free trail.
MochiBot.com – Flash content analytics.
Video Users movements through the site
http://www.clicktale.com/ (good for e-commerce)”