Google Analytics for User Insight AMA with Luke Hay on Thursday 26th 12pm PST

We all like to think we are making the right decisions when developing or designing sites, apps, and products — but are we really?

Effective design and product development is based on how well we understand our market and users. This is evident through data. When we have a true understanding of these, it helps us grow our business, it make our users content, and it feels good to make a decision that positively impacts the business.

When we reach a slump and haven’t made that impact we’ve wanted, we need to investigate why, but most importantly think about what we do next. Digging deep into Google Analytics gives us a platform to investigate further, to see where we have issues with our user flow, visibility to spot blockages, and ultimately find solutions. It provides us with evidence and a focucal area of our product pain points. It will help you make the right decisions, based on metrics, not assumptions and gut feeling.

Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion. — W Edwards Demming

On Thursday 26th January, 12pm (PST), we’ll be holding our first AMA for the year. Luke Hay, author of Researching UX: Analytics, UX Consultant, and Senior Conversion Strategist will be joining us here on the forums to take your questions on using Google Analytics for User Insight.

Whether you’re in design, development or a product management, understanding analytics is something that will directly benefit you. So what are you waiting for? See when this is happening in your timezone, mark it in your calendar, and see how you can improve your research workflow and feel confident about the UX and product decisions your making.

See you there!

P.s. If the time doesn’t work for you, feel free to leave your questions for @lukehay below and we’ll answer them during the event.


Welcome @lukehay!
Thank you for joining us for today’s AMA and helping us learn a little more on Google Analytics, but most importantly, how that can bring us insights into our projects and how others are using it.

Luke could you tell us a little more about yourself?

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Thanks Angela. I’m Luke Hay a UX and Analytics consultant from Brighton in the UK.

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I’ve recently written a book, published by Sitepoint, on how best to use analytics to inform your UX decisions.

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How long have you been working with UX and how did it come about?

Quite a long time now. I started out in the 1990s looking at analytics to see how people were using websites. Things were a lot simpler in those days of course!

Ah yes, this book has had raving reviews. Tell me, what gave you the inspiration to write this book; Researching UX: Analytics?

I started out working for a web agency almost by accident and realised that I wasn’t really a designer or a developer, so I focussed on how people use websites.

@lukehay — Are analytics commonly used by UXers to inform their work, or are you kind of forging new territory here? It’s not something I’ve heard a lot about when reading up on UX. Your book was a revelation to me.

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What tools did you have then to review a website?

The inspiration for the book was the fact that I think analytics is a very undervalued area of UX. There’s a lot of information that people can get from their website data, but few people use it to help with their design decisions.

Hi Ralph, good question, and I’m glad you liked the book. No, it’s not something that’s used as often as you would perhaps expect. I hope the book will change some people’s minds about that :wink:

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What was your first a-ha moment when the data helped influence the design of your projects?


Back then I used Web Trends - which at the time meant downloading hundreds of log files from web servers and running them through a tool to get basic, top-level information back. Now of course tools are a lot more sophisticated and you can learn a lot more about how people are using your website, and even a little about who those people are.

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I’m sure it will. I’ve had Analytics set up on my site for years, but didn’t have a lot of motivation to use it much. I was amazed by how powerful it can be for informing UX. It’s helpful not just to think of it as a marketing tool.


That’s another great question! I’m not sure that there was a moment like that as such. There have been, and continue to be, lots of moment where I’m surprised by the lack of interest shown in how people are interacting with websites. Some people seem to focus on vanity metrics like the total number of visits to a website, but don’t really look beyond that. There’s so much information available in website analytics which is largely left untapped.

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Absolutely. I think part of the problem is that analytics has been hijacked by marketers! I think UX-ers need to claim it back and use it for the benefit of the users, not just to inform marketing campaigns.


Yeah, the book makes that really clear. It’s amazing how much information you can glean from analytics data before having to sit real users down in front of a computer. It might be worth listing some of the key ways it can inform UX to inspire people. I had no idea.

What’s a really good example of a metric forgotten about in analytics but is a goldmine?


There’s a lot of information available in your analytics tool. The main ways that people can use their analytics data for UX fall into two categories for me:

  • Finding out potential problem, or under-performing areas of their website
  • Finding out data about users which can be used to support further user research

The first category is all about identifying areas where there are possible issue to be investigated, perhaps by usability testing.
The second is about using the qualitative data along side (not instead of) qualitative research.