It’s a basic truth of the human condition that everybody lies. The only variable is about what.
House often didn’t see his patients so they wouldn’t have a chance to lie to him. People lie, data doesn’t.
The same is true with analytics. Designers, developers and owners lie, statistics don’t. People have ulterior motivations and egos, numbers don’t.
It used to be an easy target to warn against only thinking about search engine friendliness after a site was built, every few weeks another “seo expert” would come out and tell stories of entirely built sites that had to be re-engineered to allow spiders the best possible access to its content. And while, at least in my little corner of the web world, that lesson has been learned and is starting to sound redundant and obvious, those who refuse to learn from past mistakes will repeat them.
These days I’m finding it very common that things like conversion and usability based on real user testing and analytics data are only being thought of after a site is built. Often…
I heard a client say recently that trying to make changes to an established site to increase its conversion rate was just haphazardly guessing, and they were corrected by someone who said that the right way to do it would be to guess and then test with multivariate tests. I disagree.
The scientific method says we should study the subject first, then make a hypothesis and test it. Study the site visitor’s current behaviors first through analytics or user testing/surveys. Then you can begin to make assertions about what problems said site visitors are having on the site and you can make the necessary conversion enhancements and test them.
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