Making metrics work

The importance of web metrics has always been self-evident in the world of SEO. It is the measurement of key performance indicators, obvious to all, as clear as day in fact. This transparency and the credence of web analytics is a powerful companion to IA strategies, convincing the client is so much easier when real figures can be shown that highlight user behavior. Often it enables you to get over bigger cultural hurdles that your project needs to overthrow, to enable it to be a success.

Beware of the stakeholders one-eyed view…


Choose your weapon

When you think about how hard it is to convince certain types around the boardroom table, it is these same people who respond so well to figures that are facts. Some decision makers will trust you implicitly (obviously a joy to work for) others are so conservative they will not move until you show cold, hard figures.

If the statistics are good enough you can almost negate any discussion over a design decision. The figures are the evidence that we need to ensure design solutions are implemented. The problem that you see, may not be seen in the same way by the client, so you need to think of ways to illustrate the solution.

Prove them wrong

I had a client who insisted on placing the magazine cover in the top left of the page and it was the use of web metrics that persuaded him to see that this was confusing the user. He linked the image to a subscription page where there was a huge drop off – primarily because the users thought that the image would reveal the magazine content. Without statistics the argument would never have been resolved.

Metrics are the user voice

The great thing about evidence based design decisions is that they are non-negotiable. The users are telling you what to do. The figures in the metrics spell it out. So decide what you need to show the client and then get the analyst to research and present the figures. A chart here will help convey the message, the simpler the better. Those in control of the software will often also have a perspective about why or how the users behave in the way they do. A good web analyst is a real bonus to any design team especially in a user centred approach.

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