Posts from Ryan Evans

October 30, 2014

Peering into the Page – Fine-Grain Tracking of User Behavior With Analytics

The purpose of analytics is to track user behavior on a website or app so that we can understand the effectiveness of our design and make adjustments to better meet user goals and business needs. 

One of the problems of analytics tracking is that it can only provide a certain level of granularity. The easiest way to configure website analytics is to work on the page level. With this setup, data is recorded each time a user clicks to a new page. We get some good information such as what page the user arrived from, which page they clicked to and how long they spent on the page.

However, what the user did while they were on the page remains a mystery. Did they spend 3 minutes on the page reading our content and flipping through our photo gallery? Or did they spend 3 minutes away from their computer stretching their legs and getting a cup of coffee? We’d like to know this so that we can improve our design in the most effective ways possible.

We can see this kind of improvement happening with unsurprising frequency on They scour through analytics to see exactly which widgets and page elements are used most often to convert browsers into purchasers. A small tweak can mean an increase in Amazon’s bottom line. A short visual history of Amazon’s shopping cart widget makes this clear.

This is where event tracking comes into play. Event tracking is a simple piece of code that can be added to just about any page element – image, tab, button, graphic or even a text link. When the user interacts with the element (e.g., flips through a photo gallery), the interactions are tracked and can be analyzed much like other analytics data.

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August 5, 2014

Design4Drupal 2014: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Michael McPherson, Partner & Creative Director, and Ryan Evans, Director of Experience Design, recently attended the Design4Drupal Boston 2014 conference at MIT’s Stata Center. The event is a place for front-end designers and back-end developers to discuss issues, techniques and innovations related to the ways they collaborate on web sites. Through the weekend three key themes emerged: Collaboration, Community, and the Responsive Web.

A successful website is made up of many parts and integrating a successful UX design with backend functionality can often be frustrating. One of the keys here is to collaborate, or as one speaker put it: avoid hand-offs. The more we can trust and listen to team members while dissolving the ambiguity inherent in a project with multiple players, the more successful our web launches will be.

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November 15, 2011

5 Things We Like About Movember

Clearly, I have been missing much since 2003 since I only heard about Movember this month. Movember began in 2003 by a bunch of inspired (and brilliant) Australians. Movember is an international movement to bring attention to men’s health issues, mainly prostate and other men’s cancers through individuals growing mustaches.

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June 8, 2011

Write From the Start: Functional Online Writing

A New York Times article recently revealed that Groupon employs over 400 writers and editors to produce the humorous sales pitches that move their discounted wares. Banter such as “Like the seedpod of the sacred lotus, golf courses are filled with holes and cause feelings of euphoria when chewed” is intended to capture the attention of online shoppers. In the crowded “deal-of-the-day” space, Groupon is betting that their heavy investment in the creation and craft of words, and their unique voice, will put them at the top of the heap.

Often, when we begin brainstorming a new online experience for web or mobile, the first things our clients talk about are functionality, architecture and design. Copy and voice are recognized as important aspects of the brand, but most people feel it can be slotted in later in the process, even after the site is completed. But the words we select and craft play as important a role in the function of a site as the backend code.

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March 2, 2011

Seven Rules for Designing Mobile UX

Focus on narrow, specific tasks. It doesn’t take a survey to tell you that users are less focused when they are using browsers and apps on a smartphone. This means that you should focus your design on a small set of well-defined tasks. Don’t try to squeeze everything under the sun into a single app.

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February 28, 2011

Designing for Mobile? Think Context, Not Hardware

Interactive experiences on mobile devices are no longer limited to simple information finding like phone number lookup or location finding. Users are taking advantage of a variety of interaction modes. Everything from social media to reading to collaboration to gaming to shopping to browsing are used regularly on a variety of mobile platforms.

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November 4, 2010

Cater to Your Customer – Join Us on November 10

Our Director of Experience Design, Ryan Evans, will be speaking at an event sponsored by MITX titled “Cater to Your Customer: Adapting User Personas to Social Engagement” on November 10th in Cambridge. We hope you can join us! Here’s some additional information about the event:

A company engaged in social media is a dime a dozen in 2010, but how many of those companies are in sync with the hearts and minds of their customers? Learn how to delve deeper into the opportunities of social media by understanding how to target users based on their attitude, goals, and behaviors. Capturing your audience’s attention at an almost subconscious level to address their needs and interests will be a necessity to effectively and consistently engage with consumers through social media.

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October 12, 2010

Usability Testing: It’s When and Not Why

Our clients often ask us why they should conduct usability testing with their website, mobile site or application. They say, “We’ve talked about the site endlessly and now it looks great! Why do we need to take the time to get more feedback before we launch?” Task-based usability testing is one of the best ways we have to understand how users will succeed and fail with an online experience. While we have a number of qualitative and quantitative tools that help us understand the mindset and behavior of site users, we can never be sure that the site will work for them until we recruit real users and sit them down in front of our work.

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August 26, 2010

What We're Reading (and Watching) This Week

August 5, 2010

What We're Reading This Week

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