David Housman

My Left Nav Brings All the Boys to the Yard (Damn Right, it’s Better than Yours)


Have you ever had someone come up to you and say “Why can’t we use Google Analytics? Its so much better!”. They don’t realize that it hurts when someone calls your baby ugly. 9 times out of 10, the reason behind this is they had a great experience learning to use Google Analytics. Google Analytics is walk up and use. It’s beautiful, its simple, it’s what analytics should look like. I freely admit that SiteCatalyst is about as inviting as a “come hither” look from Dick Cheney.

 Google Analytics  Omniture SiteCatalyst



In Web Analytics, we want as many people to be able to consume our work as possible. Usability means less calls from your users that can’t find their reports. It means you have to spend less time training and your company can get more value out of your work.

Usability => Adoption => ROI. It’s that simple.

As Web Analysts, we’re not completely locked in to SiteCatalyst’s crummy usability. We can do something about it. I’m not going to tell you that you can make SiteCat’s usability not suck because I am neither a liar nor a miracle worker. But with a little work, you can make it suck a lot less.

Consider Jakob Neilsen’s “Heuristics”, or guidelines for User Interface design:

Recognition rather than recall
Minimize the user’s memory load by making objects, actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another. Instructions for use of the system should be visible or easily retrievable whenever appropriate.
Flexibility and efficiency of use
Accelerators — unseen by the novice user — may often speed up the interaction for the expert user such that the system can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users to tailor frequent actions.

This is my second time building out a totally custom interface. I wanted my UI to be the absolute best in the history of SiteCatalyst, so I ripped off the things I like about Google Analytics, WebTrends, and SiteCatalyst to come up with FrankenNav:






Custom-Veriables    Shopping

Ready to build your own? Check out Admin >> Admin Console >> Report Suites >> Edit Settings >> General >> Customize Menus

Have fun!

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