Ask the questions you really want to know the answers too
How many of you go into your website stats package with no clear idea of what you want to find out? Too many I suspect.
Whatever the stats solution is – Google Analytics, Webtrends etc. the situation is the same, they all require a certain level of expertise in order to tease out the valuable insight contained within. Unfortunately because Google Analytics and the like give you nice little client friendly summary dashboards it’s can be all too easy for clients to opt to monitor their stats themselves. Whilst some client do have the expertise to do this well, a lot don’t, and wasting the most valuable source of quantitive data you have sometimes feels tantamount to negligence to me.
I'm often asked by clients "what should I be looking out for in the stats?". My answer is different every time. Each client is different. They have different objectives, audience types, KPIs, so the metrics that are important to one may have little value to another. If there's one piece of advice I would give though it's to know what questions you really want the answer too. Not what the stats software neatly presents you with.
I find a good way to get people to do this is to get them away from their computer when creating the questions. Instead of browsing the stats consuming whatever neatly bundled data is happily grouped together for you, step away from the computer and ask "what do I really want to know?". Once you have created the questions, only then return to the stats and remain focused on getting the stats to give you the exact information you want. It also helps to create them in normal language, not stats jargon. For example - "What are the top 3 sites bringing visitors to me, and how much are those visitors spending?"
If in doubt though, just don’t do it yourself. Use the expert at your agency or a consultant. Remember, drawing the wrong conclusions can be worse than drawing no conclusions.
Love this book that was commissioned for Ikea. It displays all the ingredients in a beautiful artistic way. Very clever!
See more images over at Creative review
Something to think about
I read lots of blogs and follow lots of interesting people on twitter. Now and again I find little quotes that I like and I save them in a file. Just stumbled back accross one I found a while back and thought I'd share a snippet of it...
"We live in interesting times. We’re blessed that way.
The world is changing rapidly.
The way we work is changing, the way we live has already changed. Entire industries are crumbling, and more are growing on their ruins. People are empowered to express themselves, to create, to become a part of a global conversation and transformation, in a way that has never existed before.
What will you do with that?
What will your place be in this new, interesting world? Will you have a voice? Will you be a creator, or just a consumer?
Do something interesting."
Leo Babauta (http://bit.ly/bGpxjH)
Thoughts on the iPad - Two months on
I feel like it’s time for me to give an update on my thoughts of the iPad. I think it’s pretty fair to say that after the initial curiosity when our studio iPad arrived a couple of months ago, there’s certainly been no fighting each evening over requests to borrow it from any of the team. Why? Maybe because it’s not that exciting? (Especially for those who have an iPhone – which is most of us do). Is it because unless it’s your own iPad your unlikely to have it loaded with the kind of apps that make useful and enjoyable for you? To be honest I’m not sure.
I’ve probably used it more than anyone in the studio to-date so feel like I want to share my assessment. So far it’s a mixed bag for me. There are some great things; battery life is awesome, feels nice to handle, screen is excellent, and apps like Flipboard amaze me (if you haven’t checked it out, do so). The bad things; well the lack of flash aside, and the quite frankly scandalous omission of a photo card slot built in, the most ridiculous thing for this device is that it doesn’t have user profiles. Let me explain my beef…
For a device that has no single use and costs over £500 if you want the 3G one (and you will if you want to get the most out of it), the lack of any kind of user profile feature is a massive failure by Apple. Put the iPad in a typical family scenario where you have two adults and a number of kids who all want to use the shiny new bragging stone (Charlie Brooker gets the credit for that moniker). Well Dad wants his work email and calendar on there, so does mum, the kids don’t, but dad certainly doesn’t want the kids playing with it if they can accidently email his boss with the kids score on Angry Birds.
Here’s lies the problem, without any kind of user profile feature the iPad remains a ‘personal device’, and at £500+ it’s quite an ask to expect mum and dad to buy one each, and part with their hard earned for one for the kids too. A phone is undoubtedly a ‘personal device’, the iPad should be a shared device, as happy to be in the kitchen, lounge, or kids room, and its owner should be happy that whoever wants to use it can. It’s this reason I can’t set the studio iPad up how I want it, because it will contain my personal info and I don’t want to share my Facebook, emails and Angry Bird score with the rest of the studio (although pretty proud of my Angry Bird score so maybe not too fussed about that ;-)
I thought I could never justify buying one for myself personally, but I am someone who relies on my calendar, and its digital – I don’t have a paper based one. The ability to whip out something the size of a book in a meeting and check my calendar with no start-up time is pretty appealing. As for apps like Flipboard, this is the kind of app that excites me, I could truly imagine using this as my default choice for reading all the interesting gems that twitter deliver up each day, but as I use it a bit more another annoying problem arises, the calendar!
I have it setup at the moment with our exchange server, it’s great, email syncs, calendar syncs, just what I need. The problem is if I have a calendar item that’s spread over more than a single day, there is only an item in the calendar for the day it starts meaning I can’t look at a day and be sure that I have nothing on. So far I haven’t found a way to change this, so dreams of my digital diary have gone up in smoke.
So all in all, I’m still unsure about the iPad. I certainly think it will be the apps that make the iPad over just using it as way of just browsing the web. Apps like Flipboard really excite me – clever, useful and just pleasurable to interact with. Maybe an OS update will solve some of the other annoyances; I hope so as I could become a big fan with just a few improvements.
Why I've decided to get an iPad
OK so I've made my decision, I'm going to get an iPad when they launch here.
Why? Certainly not becuase im an Apple fanboy (although im slowly being lured by the sheer simplicity, great design, and usability of their products. In fact I've recently started using a Mac keyboard on my PC so im half way there). No, the real reason is that as an iPhone user I've witnessed how much of a game changer the iPhone really was/is. Whats that got to do with the iPad? Well lots really, the iPad will challenge the way users connect with digital material in the same way the iPhone did.
Not everyone will be able to afford an iPad for sure, but the other manufacturers will soon create their own versions at lower price points. To me all this means is that we are possibly witnessing the birth of a new format. Being involved in digital means we must embrace new formats, and for that reason I'll be in the queue. :-)
It's nice to be home
After four weeks out of the office while our studio had a refit, its nice to say that its great to be back now.
Its been a very busy period. lots of exciting and important projects on (testing everyone to their limits while working temporarily from home!)
Now were back in the office with the mezanine in, new furniture, new meeting space, new thinking space, new kit, it feels so refreshing... Special mention to Kate for making it all happen whilst managing 1,000 other things.
And our office... as a true Bristolian, I can safely say "I loves it"
Tour of Britain hits the streets
Well it's that time again, Tour week, when our good friends at SweetSpot take The Tour of Britain onto the streets and spend at least nine days with very little sleep. The website looks and works great (good work Al, Andrew, Kate and James!). The live tracking and race commentary via twitter are proving popular, and apparently the sun has been out for most stages so far.
Check out the nightly highlights show on ITV4.
View the website at www.tourofbritain.co.uk.
Happy Birthday (to us!)
Today marks our fifth birthday and so a perfect time to reflect on the last five years. Over five years digital and the web have changed a lot. Thinking back on what we’ve worked on, the shift towards increased interactivity, functionality and creativeness has been seismic. But the thing I’m most pleased about looking back is all the wonderful people we’ve worked with over the years, clients, partners and suppliers. It’s you guys that make the experience a wonderful one.
Looking forward, the next five years I think is going to be the most exciting yet as digital really lives up to its potential and clients get more enthused and aware of the possibilities. For all the people we’ve worked with in the past and continue to work with into the future, a big thank you. We couldn’t have done it without you!