My Love/Hate Relationship with Analytics Tool UIs

under the hood of a carIt is probably fairly clear by now that I am a big fan of SiteCatalyst (part of the Adobe Online Marketing Suite, powered by Omniture). However in my role as a consultant, I do remain tool independent. Through my clients I have been exposed to a variety of other analytics tools including Google Analytics, Webtrends and Unica. Now I know a pretty UI (user interface) does not a great tool make – it’s what’s under the hood that really matters.

That being said, I don’t care how fantastic of tool you have, if the UI is lacking in usability, it really frustrates the heck out of me. I won’t pick on any one vendor in particular but when it comes to both having a robust analytics tool, and a usable interface, my pick over all the rest that I’ve work with so far has got to be SiteCatalyst, followed by Google Analytics.

Here’s an example of a UI that’s really lacking in usability – one tool I’ve been working with recently requires you to click a button in order to “apply” any sort of date change. If you want to change between profiles (report suites) the data always resets to the current month. It even resets to the current month when navigating within a profile at times as well. This makes running reports very time consuming, especially if I want to run a report and I need a specific date range (like if I’m running quarterly reports across multiple profiles, for example). OmnitureĀ  really got this one right – they only reset the date back to the current month if you are logging in or have been away from the tool for an extended period of time. My selected date range remains across reports, and across report suites without having to reset everything each time.

This is but one small example of a UI that’s really lacking in usability, which in the end wastes my time and my clients’ money.

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