Tracking by Numbers: Measuring and Proving Value in Web Design

Tracking by Numbers: Measuring and Proving Value in Web Design

Users have great expectations when they visit your Website. They increasingly want an experience that’s valuable, easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and emotionally satisfying. To retain and gain customers, as a web designer then, you have to continually win their hearts and minds by providing them with a compelling user experience (UX) that is useful, usable, and desirable.

Leaving User Experience Design to Chance Hurts Businesses

If you have ever driven in New York, then you know that the streets there are very difficult to navigate. Why? As a trading post by colonists, it was greeted by millions of immigrants who set up home and shop, home and path and so forth all through the city. As a result New York’s layout was accidental and the result is a convoluted set of streets that frustrates both residents and visitors.

Similarly, Website design may achieve poor results if they design without a plan, without the following three basic questions that relate directly to all the design decisions that you will make.

What, Why and How

These are the 3 questions that are at the heart of your research, analytics and motivation behind designing by the numbers.

1. What – Defines what the issue is

2. Why – Proves why it is an issue

3. How – Determines how to fix the issue with the optimal solution (if it is an issue)

Without addressing the above questions in a proper manner , leaving user experience to chance, you end up hurting conversion rates, alienating your customers and further still, run up developmental costs.

What? —- Defining the Issue

Asking ‘What?’ will yield to a lot of information that will help you make optimal design decisions. It is the process which seeks to understand the relevance and usefulness of the information that explicitly relates to the decisions we undertake

  • What do site users need?
  • What things frustrate users?
  • What can I do in this design to accomplish the sites objectives?
  • What will be a stylish yet useful web layout?
  • What colour schemes would work best?
  • What’s right or what’s wrong with the site?
  • What can be improved?

Why? —- Proving the Issue

The next on list question, the ‘Why?’ , is the ability to back up your ideas with hard facts as to know why it needs to be done.

Because making changes or implementations beyond what you initially set out to achieve may cost time, money or resources, the ability to back up your ideas with the why will be enough for your clients to take in your ideas more seriously.

  • What are people not using the comments?
  • Why is the community participation on the site low?
  • Why does the site need cross browser support?
  • What are users not able to find what they need?

How? — Determining how to fix the issue

How what is makes sense to the whole web design effort that you will undertake once you know what needs doing and why it’s required. It’s the method of ‘actualizing’ the important to-dos.

  • How do I go about increasing user engagement?
  • How can this design improve community participation?
  • How can I fix the issue so that users may able to navigate easily and find what they need?
  • How can I create cross-browser support?

How are you Measuring Statistical Data

If you collect data before you start building the design, you’ll be able to compile an adequate analysis while determining the best course of action for your visitors.

Each of these data gathering techniques have their own benefits and pitfalls so there isn’t ultimately a perfect solution.

On-Site Data

A web site uses click analytics or website analytics to determine the performance of his or her particular site, with regards to where the users of the site are clicking. Designers or other types of stakeholders may analyze this data to aid them assess performance of their design elements or advertisements.

While this type of data is often ideal in that they relate directly to your visitors, it often takes a while for activity on a new website to build up and as such, depending on these alone may leave you in the dark as to your visitor’s basic primary needs upon launching the service.

In sites with limited or no traffic, or sites that are still in development analytics software fails because there is no (or limited) data sources; you’re pretty much in the dark.

Social Data

Most industries use social presence (number of fans, likes, followers, etc.) as one of the ways to measure social marketing success. While there are still a large number of people who aren’t interested in the “social” aspect of social networking, attributing to such information can actually be more useful (in different ways) to the conventional number-based statistics from analytics packages.

Designer Demographics

Ensuring your visitors can use and enjoy their experience with your web design is important and determining how we can provide that experience will all be down to using the statistics methods above and then narrowing the focus down onto what is most relevant for your audience. Asking your community what would enhance the experience can be great.

Collecting data is very straightforward , you simply paste a few lines of JavaScript to your pages and data will start to stream into your account. The hard part is going beyond a basic install of your web measurement tool so that you have a more complete picture of visitor activity, that crucially, includes value.