David Housman

Web Analytics Program Maturity and Reporting Capabilities

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By the time we get to actually reporting data, things should have been solidified in the design. But when selecting a design, it’s important to imagine how that information will be reported. And these are things I look for in good reporting:

The bottom line The report is designed to inform the action based on this report. It presents the information in a mode that is appropriate to how it will be used. Form = function.
Efficiency The front line of reporting for web analytics is one stakeholder using SiteCatalyst. While interesting functionality may be available, manual aggregation or calculations that require additional effort inhibit use, and will deter users. The consequence of inefficiency isn’t complaints- it’s the silence of SiteCatalyst licenses going unused. Are common metrics pre-calculated? Are common groupings pre-configured? Is the interface efficient intuitive and easy to learn? Our reports should minimize time spent generating information and maximize the time spent absorbing information.
Hierarchy Web analytics allows users to pivot report to explore a subject of interest. This is a key ability from reporting platforms, is a key advantage of the distributed approach. Does the report allow the user to drill down into details?
Usability and Accessibility Ideally, reports should be accessible to a wide audience, and require minimal training. Web analytics has the luxury of an audience with the time and interest to take training. Reports should make the same usability considerations as any end-user facing product. See Neilsen’s 10 Heuristics
The X Factor There may be other issues related to context of the application, the needs of the stakeholder, etc. that aren’t listed here. Good solutions fit the scenario. Sometimes it is necessary to think outside the box.

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