Musings from Mike Atkinson on Internet strategy, usability, and more...

Reframing stats analysis

I remember the heady, quaint days of early Internet-Land, when we’d quote massive hits to our sites to impress either the brass or others.

Web content guru Gerry McGovern has an apropos acronym for HITS: How Idiots Track Success. heh

He says he can’t believe anyone still quotes hits as a measure, but, honestly, I haven’t heard anyone do that in quite a while. Does anyone in your world still do that?

McGovern’s larger point in his column is that these days – unless you’re an ad-supported site – larger numbers of stats (like hits, page views, etc.) don’t always mean success.

In fact, once I did a stats analysis report for a client. I compared pre-redesign stats with post. We found that after the redesign there were about 30% less page views and folks were spending about 25% less time on the site.

Most folks would have sunk into instant depression at those results. However, through qualitative research, we found that folks were simply getting where they needed to go sooner and thus needed less time on the site.

McGovern says it like this: “Let’s say your website is so confusing that it takes 20 clicks to do something that can be done on a competitor’s website in 5. Is that a good thing?”


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