Episode: 7 Cliff Notes on analytics
Podcast Show Notes
Luke Hay, Analytics and UX Consultant with over 15 years industry experience in all forms of website management. Talks with me about his new book Researching UX - Analytics: Understanding is the Heart of Great UX. By the end of this book, you'll have a strong understanding of the important role analytics plays in the UX process. It will inspire you to take an "analytics first" approach to your UX projects.
This episode of Cliff Notes: Ask a leader Podcast. Tristan Bailey talks to Luke Hay to understand when a business should use UX and Analytics and how easy and valuable it is to get started. how can you get started with Analytics or UX in your business and where to begin.
Hello and welcome to another episode where we ask a leader, find a way.
Today we're talking to Luke who's just published a book on using analytics to improve your UX and now we look forward to learning with him today and seeing what he can teach us about applying data to interaction design and he's got a new book out. Hello.
How you doing today?
yeah I'm trying to recover. But I'm feeling okay. Could you give us a little background in there. There's no
Yeah, sure. So I'm a UX and so I work part time on agency, so I can call on analytics side of things, and my thing back then really is around using analytics help inform your UX decisions.
And what I mean what brought you to that. Have you always done sort of the sort of different areas or have you move from one to the other.
It's a good question. I kind of a little bit of everything really spin in the in the industry for over 15 years now and started off really worked with the websites before people really looking at websites and then I started looking at analytics fairly early on there and back in those days it was obviously quite primitive stuff so kind of just the number of visits to website impact on people spending on your website, that kind of thing. So I suppose that's really my starting point and then I got into user experience or UX it's known radio a bit more recently, actually the last
six or seven years and really in interest in terms of how people actually use websites apps
and things and it's great.
And what's the benefit of UX. I mean, could you just give us a little explanation of what what you axes and analytics.
So much for UX said easier experience and it's really about taking a user centred approach to design and build your website app software or even physical products as well. And essentially, it's about looking at things from your users point of view and it's about ideally talking to those users interviewing them researching things around them and what their needs and requirements self as well as that it's around doing user testing with them. So if you've got a website or app you actually should be looking at how real people use it more than just kind of look at itself, making decisions based on countries or or what you it's much better to to get your users involved and find out what a neat or at how usable you website as well with this. It's easy to yourself. It doesn't mean that everyone else
says this is a process that you find it works while you're building a new website or is this something that can be applied after the websites launched.
Yes, it can be used any time I mean that the process itself is very fluid, there's lots of different techniques and disciplines within UX and there's lots of discussion about exactly what goes on and the best way to do them. But broadly speaking, yes, you can apply UX he can use that term at any state, but it is best to do it while you're building, you
can get people vote so early as possible. That means you can start to on our problems as you work that maybe that instead of building you can play after launching it and then doing some some sort of testing around it. You could prototype or maybe something simply loosen I suggest getting question about how that might work. And then if you can get real people using those even start see where the problems are early on is going on building something completely wrong, then you will find out quickly where the problems lie. Also, it's worth interview us find out what their requirements are, to some extent, we asked people they want they weren't necessarily go to give you the answer straight away or get clear on who are to compete with find out when there is actually a need for the thing you build it was functionality within an app or even even the app itself. So it's really around part of getting feedback from people that have been using your software website or app and making sure that is making them quality life to find it easy to
write that sounds important.
You don't need to wait till you've got a finished polished product you can you can get people testing it with with something much.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean that there's probably really a very bad thing to do if you have if you're already got a product up and running. Now, then you pass the test and make changes to that if you're starting from scratch, then it's much better to test early on so you're not spending a lot of time developing things that people have problems using or just have no requirement for South I mentioned before, you can say test that prototype stage and even before that you can do paper prototypes, you can product through things upon shapes the piping just sketch ideas out and then sit down with someone who's a potential use your website and get them to kind of pass things in the paper and and move them around and that kind of things you can actually without that in a single character of the people you can just do some basic testing the sketches to get a broad idea about how people might interact with your view so
great, so that the sort of feedback you get would be what is sort of a workshop session or sort of interviews and then feed back to the rest of the team. Yeah, so, so you can just do workshops, which can be all sorts of things. It can be physical card sorting where you've got hold of
content every website you get users to come in and group that might be that you just have posted notes UX is love posted notes that may be the have lots of post notes around that and you get users and group those together in a way where they see things repeating together and that will give you an idea about how to perhaps categorize things new website. So that's an example workshop, you can do early on and inside there is they have this other side of things we can start to get an idea of how they would actually use the UI the user interface beautiful bright shiny sketches and getting into history where they would click for touch things to get to where they wanted to go you can do quite a lot to say before you even read. Stop. Stop.
Okay. And what I mean, what's the what's the the output of this I mean do you write up reports or or do testing to then that brings you into to then getting towards this data analytics part,
um, in terms of the the outcome of initial user research user testing yes that that could be a report, depending on the circumstances that may be a sort of big full report or it may just be some bullet points of your learning is really depending on what you do you work with to the to the stakeholders. Oh, and it could just be that precise you'd learn several key points and the M word you designers and developers about those say well people having problems with this part of the CIO or people group these things together. So let's make sure we match that for me actually come to build the website. So it's really about just taking the learnings from it. Big Four records can be useful if you're trying to get across to the large teams and things, but generally speaking, a lot of the time it's better just to take away those key findings and it will feel knows
the analytic side of things, if you're building something from scratch. It's difficult to get analytics for those because now is actually using it and that if you are redesigning a website or a nap, then you should have got an analytics package and sold on there, a lot of data, they look at where you can learn about how users interact with that website or app and you can kind of take that data to learn more about you users, but also to find potential problem areas. Maybe the you see there's a real low conversion rate on a particular of mobile phone. For example, and then that might lead you to some
user testing on that phone to see what the problems are great. So if you had a solution like Google Analytics or Adobe's am so I can have this set up this would be information that you'd be able to look at differently than say the marketing or sales numbers that the number of visitors to the site, you'd go into the data differently to understand what those users have been doing.
Yes, absolutely. I mean a lot of time with Google Analytics people do see at primarily primarily used by x marketing departments seeing for people clicking through on on their adverse weather or the social medias driving traffic to their site and that kind of thing. Whereas, in reality, I think that it should be used a lot more by the UX community in general to see how people are using website. You can see a lot from Sam, so you can find out how people are navigating through the site and how they help a company from page to page and that's really useful to understand where the problem areas might be areas as well like funnels and Google Analytics where you've got a check out which has got those steps to it, you can actually start see which of those steps, who uses dropping out from so the top of this funnel. We've got 100% of people that go that far. And then it's how many of those people actually making films, getting them for your for your product or service and in several steps in it clearly say on that funnel everyone's dropping out on the address details page and then you can focus your efforts on that page is what we want. Steve to improve their. The great thing of analytics is you can look at it before you make changes and also so you spot something like that you can make a change your website and then
see for the result is with that changes the pond, a little you're saying let's drop helps improve that paid right that that sounds
actionable some good insight there as I mean as a business owner or project manager and I'm looking does UX fit into this project or we're in early stages of planning projects and it sounds like you don't need to to change the website or or set set anything up on the website to start doing this testing and evaluation. There's sort of a low entry. If I'm considering this work. I don't have to consider. Oh, someone's going to have to have
added analytics or added UX to the website before we can start you can get going without touching them obviously to get
some form of Analytics code on your site. In the case of most analytics tools like Google Analytics and Adobe analytics is just a sort of single line of tracking code that you can put in your website counting every page and then that's enough to at least give yourself if you then need to do some setup within your analytics tool to get perhaps more more advanced things in a more cost lies analytics for your particular website or app, generally speaking you put that line of code on there will start collecting data straight away. And then you can start to understand how people use your words right better and yet from that from the UX point of view, there is nothing physically me to install on your website and a community to do there is more Hey, so yeah, just getting started getting out there talking to users si la
la user, which is your website so sounds like a different a different bonus for for using this and then what what brought you to them writing a book on this.
Yeah, it's not something I intended on doing
not something I really consider the tool. To be honest, but the publishers site point, get in touch with me. I think they would they're writing a series on aspects of UX so as I touched on earlier, there's lots of different parts to you. It was like us testing post type thing, that kind of thing. And as part of this series I wanted the book written horn specifically how he can use analytics UI UX
they're going to contact with me. I think on some guest posts and things on a couple of other UX blogs talking about the importance of analytics and that's that's how my family and they they asked me whether I wanted to write a book. My initial reaction was, I wasn't sure that I would do, because I have a lot of work and a bit of a nightmare and have to give it some thought I thought I'd give it a go anywhere and it actually turned out to as a process and not be as difficult as I thought and actually was was quite interesting quite good for me to really think about the work I do about how it can affect you explain that to people. So that's how the book came about. It took about four or five months to write it and then yet. Fortunately, it was released in January this year.
So maybe you can let us know at the end, how we can get a copy who and and I mean you've seen this as this therefore this crossover is a growing area this analytics, as well as UX to an extent.
People don't use analytics because I'm sure most UX people who use some some data to back up their decisions in some way, but I think it's definitely an area where there's room for improvement. As far as I'm concerned, I think,
naturally, a lot of UX people want to get involved in the more the more traditional UX and coaches certainly like the user testing user interviews that kind of thing, which makes perfect sense because the reason people get into UX is an understanding people and interest in people so they they won't have that the idea of some interviewing people and finding out their needs is something that comes quite naturally to us for perhaps what comes less naturally is analysing and that sort of things. So I think that's something that people maybe Patel for my be get scared off as well i mean i think early on in the book I talk about some of the reasons why we don't use analytics and one of the main ones is that people get intimidated by you don't do the analytics and this sort of hundreds of different reports, it's not necessarily the most important user interface, isn't it, it can get very confusing very quickly. And I think there is a an element of people getting put off before they can get started with it and I'm hoping that the book will help people to get past that barrier and actually find out that realistically, there isn't there is an element and locked in the nation without being a festival expert and certainly with these tools where we don't need other free mathematical mind or mind particularly than others. They are just quite simply reports that show the way that any of us could understand really on the mathematician assess step petition myself but still able to use analytics to find out the answers questions.
Okay, so if you if you get someone who understands this to set the set the reports up and start giving you the data. It's much more practical to read it from then on.
Yeah, absolutely. I think always can be quite customizable. So it may be that actually as as a business owner or project Andrew summer's day to day job isn't looking at the the analytic side of things you can get someone to set up so report to you that tell you everything you need to know perhaps in just one or two simple poops so the earlier is, you know, going into analytics and drilling down into the theta, each one can't remember where everything is typically with the Google Analytics in place changes quite regularly, but he put someone to set up custom reports or perhaps a custom vegetable would then I can give you the information you need in one place and actually you don't worry too much about on the way to analytics just see these reports that tell you
that sounds a good time saver and and then touching on that. It's good to have this these reports setup and what I mean, what's a good place to start if if we've got a project though existing website and we were going to planner renewing it. We've got a new new launch new brand new product and it's going to go on there where, where would be a good place to start on on the website or or looking through the analytics to to start pulling out some some useful information or some something that's going to give us an actionable return.
Yeah, I think for me, both us and analytics that start with the same thing which is what's, what's the problem, your soul or what the question or answer. So, in your case, you were looking for that. For example, you may want say well how people interacting with our current products or how do we know there's a demand this product that kind of thing. And when you have a specific question. It's much easier for the ops is for is if you're just looking blindly he analytics is very difficult. So for example, with your new caught up. Maybe you want to find out how people are using your existing products or whether it's appalling existing products 10 people find inflation in your analytics for easily see where the interest is in other similar products in the website you can find that kind of inflation. If you want see there's it on your new product. It may be that you have the temple search box on your website and if you can Google Analytics can tell you for people entering into that search box, save lots of people searching for particular product or your website, then you can see that in your analytics and that's a really good indication that there's demand for that product type
the other useful thing about your analytics data is you can I tell you a bit more about your users as well. Now it's no substitute for proper user research and going out talking to people that is a good starting point, find out things so very recently in Google Analytics. They introduced demographics reports which tells you who the speaking these ages and genders of you users. You can also find out things like where they're visiting your website from so which countries they kind of probe or even down to which cities, they're coming from, as well as what devices they using to access the site that kind of thing. And all of this information we pull together get better idea of who you use and then if it comes to
sing with there's a demand for a particular type of product or what kind of products the juice 10 them. Yeah, having this kind of in depth information about your users is a really good starting point today going out and then decide for further research
so that it sounds like the best way to start is knowing more about your users and starting with some questions not starting with the data and working backwards to find a question
yeah definitely say that was that's the key thing there. I think is really if you're considering doing something, whatever that is when designing a whole new website or launching a product or service, you really should it have some questions before you come through analytics. So, what will work fine or the point out x y Zed and then you can start, think about which reports to tell you information or indeed he can get information for your analytics. I mean, the whole point here is that I'm not suggesting that analytics. The answer to everything I will be that you do need to do something completely different. But certainly, if you have a list of questions about what you want to know before we get started then then you find a lot of the answers in analytics.
Is it possible to give us an example of what a question might be just to understand these sort of fairly simple questions are they quite detailed long paragraphs
fairly simple questions. I think so it's like going back to your previous deliverable about
about products. It may just Hello people interacting with our current production. If you're selling products for example you have more products at the moment, are we sending the most over or what's the highest conversion rate for different products, maybe that there's lots of people viewing a certain type of product that actually the conversion rate and I'm sent up actually going to buy that product is quite low. So
is that kind of information and find out what people are doing on your website which Canadian form development at all. Okay. So if I'm looking for for how I'm able to show show back to the business or ask you, how can you show back to the business what's going to be the positive outcome from this work and the first part might be that will learn a lot more about what our customers are doing that they might not have told us before
think that's a good distinction to make that sometimes you can get a lot from customer feedback, but a lot of the time it's going to be either boys or it's going to be perhaps people not sure I want interview or what they want it was necessary. Now the arts. Today's the the tightness code with the food and saying that because I think what they wanted. He wanted because the horses of building in the multi pass. So I think there's an element of if you just talk to people, then you gain a certain part of the story, but actually your analytics you getting more factual data will be like you actually thing we'll do this thing we're actually seeing more.
Okay. And just to wrap up that bit then what can we, what can we do to to advance sort of our business today, is there a sort of first step we could take something we could go and look at to to see whether whether there's some some insight here. Yeah, absolutely. I think say that the first step
is then is actually using your Twitter analytics. Now a lot of people I know how Google Analytics or for another analytics package on their website is very sad. The thing that people throw on there and then perhaps don't look at or maybe look at a couple of months or something and look at some very top level figures and I think it comes back to what I was saying before, it's about knowing what's available in your analytics. There is a lot of information there and then going in and actually thinking about before you even go into analytics, you want to find out and what kind of things you're cool to you. You can learn from that and then radio station going in and finding out information and then thinking what action. Can you take from that because a lot of times world and people just look at it and say well that's that's interesting and more bounce rate is 60% or whatever that is. And then that will be for the the month over the year even and what you should really be doing is looking at areas where you can make improvements and trying to uncover where there may be potential problem areas with your website or app and then coming up with a strategy to wider the structure fix them directly or perhaps more likely to do some additional user research in testing at Find out what the problem might be so your analytics data will tell you what's happening but it won't really tell you why that's happening so that what site comes from analytics on the voice or the things who generally come from this user research
and and then obviously the the next point after they've started on this is to go out and buy your book and you want to just tell us a little bit more about it and where we can get in.
Yeah, sure. So the books available on Amazon. It's called researching you analytics
and it's really a book just on for people to on using analytics, as well as perhaps they do, they should be primarily the audience is people with an interest in how users are engaging with their website or app
and it helps you to find out first also why you should be using analytics some techniques for how best to get the most of your analytics, how to approach your data that kind of thing. It goes on to talk about how you can identify those problem areas where there may be potential issues, all in the test group recruitment particular aspects of your website
using their they pulled up to the there's some good, some action steps as well as just sort of explaining this area.
Yeah, I think that's that's important for me I've read quite a lot of books politically UX books and a lot of the time. There's some great books out there but there's a lot.
They just repeat the same points over and over again or don't actually have practical takeaways doesn't mean there's interesting for me I caught like a book for it's got some real practical things you can do. And I think the book isn't quite a step by step guide of how to look at your analytics, but it's a scholars closes Academy for that term. So there's a receipt practical requirements from people, but it touches on all the kind of things you can do with your analytics that will ultimately help you
on a mobile health at using your website or app right and if people wanted to get in contact with you. They've got a project or something they want to learn more about this area or speak to you for for their own business.
Yeah. The best way to get obsessed with me is to go to my website which is
or perhaps follow me on Twitter @heyluke
Cool. Well, thanks for sharing with us today and it's been good to learn more about you wicks and analytics. Now we can value it
Thank you for listening to another episode of footnotes.
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