“Again some of the findings that we had, during the analysis, were similar. We found out that a lot of the users were not coming into the homepage, but were landing in the detail, and that was important because we also broke it down by the source that they were using to land into the hotel detail page, and we saw that the organic search would perform a lot better than the paid search, because the paid search was lacking in the experience.”
The question here is what is happening to the customer? Why is the customer not achieving the goal? What difficulties are arising?
To begin, Strong asks her young son to navigate and test a new site, because kids are used to using computers and devices, and watching kids helps understand the gaps in expectations versus reality. It also gives an accurate picture of what a beginner would do on a site – his goals are standard customer goals, not metrics goals.
There are dozens of reports from Google Analytics and Omniture, and the tools that are very smart. Getting a lot of data is easy. The problem is that you need a starting point for what to look at your data.
There are a number of ways to do usability testing:
- Testing with friends and family
- On-site testing
- Unmoderated video testing
The most important thing is to understand the user’s intent, because this weeds out the major issues. Another major thing to look for is the fact that users often enter not from the homepage but from a product page. In user tests, for example, instead of users entering the homepage of MySpace, users looked directly for the MySpace page of a given artist, meaning that optimizing a homepage wasn’t enough.
The overall ideal is to:
- Improve the user experience, not just the layout
- Listen/watch for intention
- Identify the user characteristics
- Make the experience sticky
To really do well with analytics, intent is the single most important issue.
Hila Strong – Director of Digital Intelligence, Keystone Solutions
Hila Strong leads the Digital Intelligence practice at Keystone Solutions, the industry’s most experienced full-service digital measurement group. At Keystone, Hila’s team delivers innovative solutions to leading Enterprise companies. Prior to Keystone Solutions, Hila was a Sr. Web Analyst at MySpace where she worked with the executive team through the acquisition of the company in June 2011. Hila has a thirst for data exploration and takes an investigative forensic approach to anything she does. Her main goal with clients is to tell a story with data, and she’s a firecracker of ideas. Hila is on the Omniture Customer Advisory Board, she is a committee member on the Web Analytics Association, and she’s currently teaching Analytics & Measurement classes at UC Irvine.