We believe in metrics at ZURB. We track them for our clients and for ourselves to get a handle on what's working and what's not, and where opportunity lies. One of our favorite tools is the free and powerful Google Analytics
. However, something about Google Analytics has been really bothering me. See if you can find it on this dashboard screen.
Did you catch it? No search field!
How does Google, a company built on the idea of mining vast sets of data, neglect to make searching a) easy and b) powerful in one of their key products?
So let's fix it!
Alright, we can't quite fix it. What we can do is make suggestions and put out ideas.
For starters, Google believes in a data-centric world and provides tools to reach that data. They've kept that approach incredibly simple (as evidenced by their always-spartan home page) so we'll do the same. A search field, nothing fancy, right up top.
Now we're getting somewhere. Click image for full view.
We've got the elements in place, now let's think about the interaction. Let's say I want to find how this blog post is doing. Searching for "Fired up" should return a list of any page with "Fired up" in the title or body copy, title results first. Searching for "twitter" should let me know that we get referrals from Twitter, and for what pages and how many.
However, search (especially from Google) can be so much more powerful. Mark
here at ZURB tossed out: what about human language search? "Top ten pages from last week" should return a list of the ten highest-trafficked pages from the past calendar week, just like "5 highest referrers" should return the five largest incoming referrers of all time. Human language search is going to be huge, and soon—you can already see examples of it in Mozilla's Ubiquity
Google = Search
Google Analytics is a great tool, and for the price (hah!) provides an extraordinary service. But it could do so much more, and more easily, than it already does. Google built a brand around search
, the ubiquity of data – why not bring that into one of their flagship products?
Ryan correctly pointed out that Google Analytics does have a search function – however I'm choosing to ignore their difficult to find, even more difficult to use implementation.