How Event Tracking Can Improve the UX of Your Site
Thatâ€™s where Google Analytics comes in. Though widely regarded as a marketing tool, it can in fact be the saving grace for any UX researcher in need of immediate insights â€“ without adding a new layer of tools.
A basic Google Analytics account is free and offers more than enough data to give you what you need. It is also incredibly flexible with almost limitless options of answers that can be extracted: everything from usage trends and actions, to tracking errors. All this data can then be easily managed and represented pretty much however you want.
Before you begin with any in depth analysis, it is important to understand the basic tracking structure. GA allows you to have multiple Accounts, Properties and Views.
The top level is Account. This is used to separate individual websites or projects that you want to track. Properties offer a way to break down different concerns within those websites and projects, keeping user flow and metrics nicely isolated. View is another level of data separation.
As with any data collection, you must first have a clear idea of what it is you want to discover. Once you know this you can select which data to collect and analyse so as to further improve and refine the user experience.
Standard Pageview Tracking
By default, GA provides standard tracking code that observes how your users are navigating, along with parallel data that reveals some further details about them.
This allows you to see where they entered and left your site, and which paths they took through the site. It also shows you the type of device they used.
Though this is more aimed at marketing, it can easily be modified to work for analysts by adding in some code - setting GA up manually and calling a tracking function every time a user performs a task you want to track.
Behaviour flow is under the Behaviour section and is a GA report that tells you exactly how users are navigating your website. You can use this to analyse how users behave at a particular point of your flow, as well as isolating any unnecessary steps or returns to previous states. Perhaps most importantly, you can determine which steps are not being followed as you may have intended.
Since it is the smaller details that really make for a smoother UX, Google Analytics enables you to track events separately from pageview to avoid interfering with the behaviour flow reports.
These events represent standalone actions that your users are taking, such as opening different menus or altering list views. They are completely customisable and each event has four properties that you define yourself: Category, Action, Label and Value.
To track an event you need to add a different line of code, similar to pageview tracking. Event reports can be viewed in the Behaviour -> Events section. The intensity of each action is also visually represented when you select table view by Performance.
Why not start using Google Analytics Event Tracking today as a tool to help you answer questions and collect feedback on your websiteâ€™s user experience and see where you can improve.