OpenWetWare:Software/Site analytics

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Jasonk 17:03, 15 June 2006 (EDT): Site Analytics provides more detailed information about the way users arrive at and traverse the site.

  • PROS:Site analytics software would provide more information for making decisions about site organization. Could be a feature we provide to labs, as well as something we use ourselves to help for re-organizing general OWW pages (e.g., the main page).
  • CONS: Google Analytics, in particular, may raise privacy concerns. It could also be an unnecessary technical addition to the site back-end. Discussion needed to resolve this.

Austin 16:01, 16 June 2006 (EDT): From my dad who's at Symphoniq: Website analytics may cover many aspects. If that means user behavior analysis, we ourselves use WebTrends (log version) and Google Analytics (hosted). Google Analytics has a friendly GUI, but it seems that only page views are tracked. Individual objects like GIF or flash files aren't. And we know other people use Websidestory, Nettracker, Clicktracks, etc.

About Symphoniq's TrueView, it is mainly for the performance and diagnostics purpose, other than user behavior. Both kind of tools report on the volume (page views, objects/sec served) on a per URL base. The difference is the user behavior tools also tell you, e.g. (1) new users vs returning users, (2) after the login page, which pages people go in next or which is the last page before leaving the site, (3) how do people find your sites (which referrals or keyword searched), (4) how long in average does a user stay on particular URLs, etc. For TrueView, we mainly focus on the response time - from both end user and infrastructure perspective. When the end user response time is long, we breakdown the time into multiple tiers to triage the problem. It can be user's desktop/browser, the network, the web server, the application server, or database server contributing to the slowness. If, say it were the database server, we can tell which database machine, which instance, which database, what SQL statement (w/ parameters) to help identify the problem quickly. Furthermore, our tool also correlates the base page and objects loading time together. For example, if you have a slow serving page, is it because of the base page or one of the many object requests? Thus, you can see we tell how long does it take for your infrastructure to serve a page. How the time was spent in each tier. The user behavior kind analytics tells you once the page is loaded, how long a user looks at that page before clicking to the next.

Hope that this gives you a general idea. In summary, if your goal is how to organize content efficiently, likely you need something like WebTrends. If you want to optimize/diagnose performance problem, (which part of my web site is slow, should I buy another machine for web server or should I rewrite this stored procedure...), then TrueView will fit nicely. If you want to play with TrueView, I can get Eric to work with you to install a trial version on your website. See if it is useful yourself.