So my role on our design team has recently been tending towards data-mining
and analytics. I've been able to get a *lot* of interesting answers to questions
using a combination of direct SQL queries, Perl, and Excel. It recently dawned
on me, though, that there is a billion-dollar industry of analytics tools
out there that might allow all sorts of additional things, and perhaps might
allow quicker access and easier self-service answers for other people on the
The problem is, what I've seen is so buzzword-heavy that my head
is spinning every time I try to figure out what the software does -- "business
intelligence", "OLAP", the difference between "reporting" and "analytics",
etc. etc. etc.
So my questions for this group are:
1) Is anyone out there
using any kind of general analytics software for usability/UI improvement
purposes? If so, what are you using and how does it work for you?
note that I'm interested in particular in tools for mining general databases,
not web logs specifically since we're not actually doing web design per se.
But there do seem to be a lot of tools for analyzing web logs, so I'd welcome
any thoughts on those too.
2) Does anyone have any pointers to resources
that explain what analytics software actually *does* and how to interpret
all these buzzwords? :)