User experience designers — get started with analytics

Don’t just wait for the lab study to come together and the debrief to be created. Don’t solely rely on product owners and marketing teams for insights. There are myriad ways you can gain an understanding of what customers are telling you about their experience. Don’t stop doing the testing and research you are doing — just learn to do other stuff too.

Over the last couple of years, my team and I have been seeking out and incorporating myriad new methods of unearthing customer intent (always been there — newly self-service). I have a bunch more to share in this series, but here are some top line tips.

  1. Analytics and metrics are not just for product owners and marketing teams: dig into the resources you have available to you. Start learning the basics of these tools.
  2. Unearth data and their associated humans: there are likely folks in your company with access to metrics, web analytics and the chops to utilize it. Find them and make connections. Set up lunches, and any other conversation. Get to know how they have been utilizing the tools they have at their disposal. The connections I’ve made with folks who live and breath this stuff are more valuable than the access to the tools.
  3. Deconstruct the pros’ work: my first forays into web analytics were attempts to deconstruct and recreate reports created by the pros.
  4. Hack it with the basics: just dig into the data. If you have access to a web analytics suite, begin with basic uniques, visits, and views. Mess around with time frames. Get accustomed to the types of numbers and relationships you are seeing. Don’t be afraid to suck at this point. I am sure I did, but I kept plowing forward. It gets better and much more fun.
  5. Gut check with a buddy: I’ve been very lucky to find the aforementioned humans, and they have been quite generous with their time. A 30 minute session with my data mentor is worth 1,000 minutes in a manual (of which their are few).

You have to start somewhere. My journey into incorporating a broader array of inputs has been quite fruitful.

Next up is a deeper dive into the channels of customer data and insights we’ve unearthed and leveraged thus far. So much to share. I am also looking forward to hearing about other’s experiences in the space.

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