21 Nov 2005
I added Google Analytics (the new web stats service) to this site last week as an experiment, and one thing soon became clear: they can’t cope with demand. It took a couple of days for any data to show up, there’s still a lag of a day or two, and sign-ups have been suspended for now.
The reports are certainly useful if you want to delve into details and set up campaigns, goals, ROI calculations, etc., but rather unfriendly for beginners. In fact, the whole interface feels slow and over-engineered, it’s not obvious what you can click on and what’ll happen. I realise it’s aimed at site owners not consumers, and some aspects inevitably require advanced knowledge, but it should be clearer and simpler.
I’m starting to wonder if Google is paying anywhere near enough attention to design and usability. I’ve watched Hotmail and Yahoo! users struggle with and give up on Gmail, and Google Reader is appalling, surely the most confusing feed-reading software I’ve ever seen. It all gives the impression they’re busy revelling in their geekiness/intelligence while losing sight of what works for a wider audience. Just look at the ‘BETA’ label nonsense for starters.
Anyway, I’m going to continue with Google Analytics for a while and see how it goes, and will probably be using this weblog as a guinea pig for a few other experiments over the coming months; please excuse any squealing.