Traditionally, design thinking projects require large amounts of time observing and interviewing users to understand their needs. What if you could shorten that process for online businesses using web analytics?
Web Analytics and Design Thinking
The 2 main forms of web analytics I will be introducing in this article will be Google analytics (GA) and Google Search console (GSC).
You may be acquainted with the design thinking methodology introduced by interaction design foundation. The aim of the empathise phase is to understand their motivations, frustrations and most importantly, their unmet needs. Web Analytics comes in handy for 2 reasons.
- Pre-interview: Your web data can tell you about your users right from the get-go. This information will allow you to form hypotheses to test and facilitate the conversation so that you can arrive at better insights.
- Post-interview: Your web data can help you validate the information from your interviews, identify inconsistencies and identify areas of opportunities.
Here are 3 pieces of information that can come in useful when empathising with your users.
- Knowing where your users are coming from
- Identifying which pages are your users spending the bulk of their time on
- Identifying keywords your users are use on Google to reach your page
(1) Knowing where your users are coming from
GA provides the ability to identify the source by which your visitors arrive. This could potentially provide clues to the websites and/or social media platforms that your users frequent. The report can be found under Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.
For example, here are some simple insights that can be pulled from this report:
- Source and the Medium. For example, the most popular source that is sending traffic to the site above is coming from Google Organic searches (not paid).
- Number of users. The number of Users refers to the total number of visitors to your site, while the number of New Users refer to visitors who have not visited your site before this.
- How engaged the visitors from these sources are. From the screenshot, only 13% of visitors coming from this source leave without visiting another page. On top of that, these visitors view the most number of pages (Pages/Session) and stay the longest (Avg. Session Duration)
(2) Identifying which pages are your users spending the bulk of their time on
GA also provides data on the pages which the bulk of your users are viewing, and by extension, are most interested in. This provides some clues around what they are looking for when they visit your page. This report can be found at Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
The data available in this report shows the following:
- The most popular pages on this website. Aside from the home page and the store page, the page where most visitors are visit are the mens apparel page.
- If you look further at the 4th most popular page, we also note that most of the visitors to this page are repeat visitors (i.e. not new).
- Lastly, this section shows the amount of time that your users spend on the page. If we again reference the 4th most popular page, we will note that while there are a lot of visits, the average time on the page is short.
Google Search Console
(3) Identifying what your users are searching to reach your side
Google Search Console provides a view of the keywords that your users are searching for on Google in order to reach your page. Combined with data from Google Analytics, this data around what queries they are searching for gives you more information about both their intent and motivation when looking for you.
Google search console gives you data around your organic search performance.
- These are the queries that users are searching to reach your site.
- Number of impressions (views) and clicks you are getting from each of these queries.
- Ranking of your page for specific queries. For example, a position of 7.2 for the Query “queen academy” means that this site is around 7th result when anyone searches for “queen academy”.
These are 3 simple ways that data from these free tools can kick-start Design Thinking. The data available in these 2 tools can help you understand your users even before you start your first interview. If you would like to find out more about the data available on these 2 platforms, feel free to reach out!