Let me start this off by saying I’m a huge fan of Google. My last article here focused on how awesome Gmail is (see The Little Things: Behind the Scenes User Experience), I use Google Docs at work and Google Reader to get my newsfix. Google Maps gets me where I need to go and their search really can’t be beat. Overall, they do a lot of things really well.
One thing that I don’t find they do well and I’m no longer using is Google Analytics and it’s not because it’s not useful.
Why I left
To put it simply, the user experience sucked. My main gripes:
- It’s confusing. Just take a look at the Goals setup.
- To look at anything real, it requires that you go to another page.
- It’s ugly. So subjective and vein, I know. But true nonteheless. I like pretty things and Analytics is not that.
However none of those reasons are the reason I left. The reason I ended up finally leaving Google Analytics and using something else is:
I couldn’t find out how to re-add tracking to a site I redesigned.
Don’t worry, I ended up finding it. But I had to Google it. (Maybe that’s their strategy? Haha.) The page that ended up telling me how to do it involved six steps and a screenshot. I had to “Edit” the “Actions” of a profile to “Check Status”. Save for edit, none of those would give you any clue as to their function, and that was the last straw.
Where I went
But then I thought, “Why does it have to be free?”
I’ve disliked Google Analytics for as long as I can remember using it, but I never had any other choice when it comes to the free sector of analytical software. Awstats comes preinstalled with most hosts, unfortunately it overstates your traffic with inefficient ignore rules which makes it less than optimal. Google Analytics is incredibly popular and so I checked them out years ago and have been with them ever since, although I was never truly satisfied with the experience.
But then I thought, “Why does it have to be free?” and found Mint. I’m not going to go over the software right now but you can check out their website for more details. It’s not nearly as powerful as Google Analytics (no Goals, for example) but I don’t care. It’s easy and shows me my website stats. So I gave them $30 and haven’t looked back.
To wrap up
My analytics needs were essentially being met. I could find out the information I needed for no cost and even though I didn’t love the software, I have been using it for years. Then one little thing made me decide I was fed up and had to move on. I decided I would rather pay money for a less complex Analytics program than be frustrated by an insanely popular program I’ve been using for years. You might not agree with me but that’s not relevant to Mint’s pockets.
It just goes to show you how important an easy and friendly user experience really is.