The last huddle of the conference was with Gary Angel on data visualization. I’ve seen examples of great sites like Consumer Barometer leading the way in taking masses amount of data and building a simple and beautiful way to segment it but too often, to build pretty interfaces like this requires too much time and money so many companies just default back to pie charts, bar graphs and scatter graphs.
Initially discussions formed around delivering clients the correct reports and everyone agreed that key to this is finding out WHO is going to be reading the reports so you can decide on content and format. It was agreed that in reporting, the format and design that you use to present the data in could be just as important as the content in the reports. If it’s too number heavy, doesn’t tell a story or is not concise enough then you might struggle to keep the recipients interest.
In the past I’ve used Infographics and Prezi to make web analytics reporting prettier but the more advanced data visualisation tools include Tableu and Spotfire.
Normally what is common for reporting success is:
- Knowing the audience requirements (keeping this central to the reporting structure).
- Being able to build and tell a story in reports and making connections between reports.
- Building a reporting interface that has its own analytics so you can survey what reports are being looked at most and by whom.
During the huddle we also briefly discussed getting people excited about reporting. I’ve found something as simple as real-time insights can do this. I remember a few years ago standing waiting for a bus outside Google’s office in Mountain View and could see just inside the reception area. In there was a key feature that met anyone entering the office- a massive screen that simply showed in real-time, what people were searching for worldwide at that very time. I was so engrossed in this I remember nearly missing the bus! But there is something intriguing about seeing data update on a second-by-second basis, especially if it relates to customers on your site.
Real-time reports are available in Google Analytics so simply projecting this on a screen in key departments within a business can help create conversations and spread a desire for web analytics across the organisation.
Some recommended resources that were mentioned in the huddle included:
- The book ‘Impact’ by John Moon (recommended by @carmentmardiros)
- The below video by Steven Frew who discusses intelligent dashboard design:
And before we knew it the last huddle of the day was over and the conference was being wrapped up after 2 days of living in web analytics heaven 🙂