Chapter 86. What Are Analytics?

Now that you have learned to research users, set goals, plan Information Architecture (IA), direct the users’ attention, make good wireframes, and create usable features, it’s time to launch! And launching means we have something to measure.

Data Is Objective

In one of the early lessons, we learned about user research.

Data is different.

Data measures user behavior. What they do, how many times they did it, how long it took, and so on.

It is collected by a computer, so it can’t influence the user. It has well-defined measurements, so there is a very low margin of error. It can measure millions of people with no effort from you. And it can tell you things about your users like which browser they use or which country they are in.

And data never lies. This is science!

But it also doesn’t tell you anything about context, so be careful. Unfortunately, we designers have to interpret the data, and that is where mistakes can happen.

Data Is Made of People

You will be tempted to treat data as “just numbers” that mean whatever you want them to mean. Remember that those numbers represent the actions of real people with complicated lives.

Do not reduce millions of people into a single number and expect it to be reliable in every situation.

You may also be tempted to look for numbers that “prove” you were right. DON’T. And say no to anyone who asks you for that.

More Data Is Better Data

If you measure the clicks of five people, they might all be drunk, and you have no way ...

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