Learn from Existing User Experiences
We all learn from experience. So take advantage of your users' experience with your site and use the information they provide when they visit your site.
Web Page Exit Ratios
The Web page exit ratio is the percentage of users who leave a Web site at that page. Use this measurement to improve your home page visitor retention rate.
Real-life case studies:
Most Internet users will wait no longer than eight seconds, before leaving a Web page. Since the average Web backbone connection speed is 5 kilobits per second, home pages that are larger than 40 kilobytes (5 kilobits per second X 8 seconds) are at some risk of losing visitors.
Monitor Site Search Words
Your site's search engine should keep a record of all words and phrases being entered.
Popular keyword searches can reveal some valuable insights into how users are using your site. For example, you could:
Listen to User Feedback
Learn from what your users have to say about your site. Encourage them to send comments, criticisms, and complaints about your site.
It's best to provide an online contact form, and an e-mail address hyperlink. An e-mail address hyperlink alone will do, but is not recommended. The reason is because when a user clicks on an e-mail link, it will activate their e-mail program. Depending on the speed of the user's computer system, it can take a while for the e-mail program to open up, which can be annoying.
One advantage of online contact forms over e-mail programs is that a user can contact you without revealing who they are. Make sure that the user's name and e-mail address are not required to process the form. This will encourage users to be as critical about your site as they like, without having to reveal their identity.
Server Log File Analysis
Server log files are records of your Web server's activity - i.e. how users have used your site.
Types of Data Recorded
Log file data can offer valuable insight into how your users are using your site.
Your server logs will record the:
Advantages Over Usability Testing
The advantages over usability testing in lab conditions are that:
Learn From User Experiences
Proper recording of server activity can contain usability data that will recreate the movement and activities of your site users.
You can learn:
Server log file analysis does have its disadvantages, sometimes due to insufficient or misleading data.
ConclusionYou can learn a lot about your users' experiences from analyzing your log files. Use one of the many log file analysis and reporting tools to help you make sense of the data available in your log files.