Tools that enhance analytics reporting
Web analytics by itself won’t do everything a school might want, says Alan Etkins, a research and analytics associate at consultancy Ruffalo Noel Levitz. “It will give you counts, it may give you hypotheses, but it won’t give you full understanding [of metrics].” He recommends that those serious about web analytics integrate tools to enhance the data.
Survey tools, for example, provide deeper insights, he says. A few that Etkin likes are: •
- LimeSurvey, (https://www.limesurvey.org) an open source program that he says is a great option for schools with limited budgets.
- 4Q (www.iperceptions.com) from iPerception, an exit survey platform.
- An insights tool from Qualtrics (www.qualtrics.com).
- Loop11 (http://tiny.cc/loop11education).
Jill Andrews, executive director of enrollment services communications at Arizona State University, says she and her colleagues use heat maps (graphic representations of where users are clicking) and usability studies in addition to web analytics. Crazy Egg (crazyegg.com) helps them further hone in on how users are clicking through their website.
Crazy Egg can generate a picture of a web page and will place dots to indicate where people are clicking. Andrews says: “You can take the next step and look at your important pages and see how the design is working” and whether users are missing a button or a call to action. Heat maps provide that information.
“You can do some testing and run one design and run a heat map, and then run an alternative design and change the way a user is behaving on your site, so it’s very helpful in making design decisions,” she says. “It’s all about design and placement of content.”