Usability analytics tools?

29 Apr 2005 - 3:14pm
9 years ago
2 replies
1133 reads
aelman.861302 a...
2005

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
team.

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?

I should
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? :)

Thanks very much for your input!
Adam

Comments

30 Apr 2005 - 1:43am
Navneet Nair
2004

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?

2) Does anyone have any pointers to resources
> that explain what analytics software actually *does* and how to interpret
> all these buzzwords? :)

Amongst the well know analytics software, the enterprise class software
like SAS and Business Objects offer a wide amount of features and is very
customizable, however I've yet to come across any application using these
software for doing usability test analysis. Most of these 'Business
Intelligence' (sorry for another buzzword) software would require a large
number of data points for generating statistical analysis and the most
common use for this is to analyze business transaction or like the TIBCO's
Financial transaction analysis products.
Most usability studies that I have done, have never gone beyond 20
participants, so the the need to use such analytics software never arose.
Also most of the time I'm looking for qualitative rather than quantitative
data from usability test. If you're doing online surveys, and if the number
of respondents are large, may be SPSS Dimension would be an option. But in
most cases, I think Excel Spreadsheet and some well written Macros/Pivot
Tables would do an excellent job.
BTW OLAP stands for Online Analytical Processing. It mainly involved
creating cubes out of the database and generating views for it based on the
Business Query. In plain English, it means it allows you to look at data in
more than one view. A traditional report for example might give a list of
users by location who have answered a question correctly and may not be able
to delve any further into it. But by using OLAP you can interpret the data
in more than one ways by 'slicing and dicing' it in various fashion to
generate multi-dimensional views that would otherwise have required creating
10-15 flat reports of the first kind...
Check this link for more info on OLAP: http://www.olapreport.com/fasmi.htm
Also check http://www.olap4all.com/ which is a OLAP tool built on top of
MySQL..
HTH
Navneet
----------------------------------------------------
Navneet Nair
Interaction Architect
onClipEvent: form follows function();
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Website: http://www.onclipevent.com
Blog: http://www.onclipevent.com/enterframe/

30 Apr 2005 - 8:31am
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 04:14 PM 4/29/2005, aelman.861302 at bloglines.com wrote:
>2) Does anyone have any pointers to resources
>that explain what analytics software actually *does* and how to interpret
>all these buzzwords? :)

Two books come immediately to mind (for Web Analytics):

Eric Petersen's: Web Analytics Demystified: A Marketer's Guide to
Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Business
http://tinyurl.com/8ov2f

Jim Sterne's: Web Metrics
http://tinyurl.com/8fr5p

According to Amazon's concordance, you get more words for your dollar with
Jim's book (8,142) than with Eric's (1,946). Maybe Eric is just more
selective about the words he chooses?

The newly founded Web Analytics Association (
http://www.webanalyticsassociation.org/ ) may also be a decent resource for
what you're looking for.

Hope this helps,

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
http://www.uie.com jspool at uie.com

UI10 Anniversery Gift: Limited Edition iPod!
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