Deconstructing a Dashboard: Inside the UCSF Profiles Team’s Monthly Key Metrics
Deconstructing a Dashboard:
Inside the UCSF Profiles Team’s Monthly Key Metrics
Anirvan Chatterjee, Brian Turner, MBA
Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of California, San Francisco
As research networking platforms like VIVO and
Profiles RNS become commoditized, our focus
shifts from building technology to enabling and
tracking meaningful use.
The UCSF Profiles team at UC San Francisco’s
Clinical & Translational Science Institute has
published a monthly dashboard of key website
metrics for over three years. The data is derived
from Google Analytics reports and pulled into Excel,
where it’s presented as a simple dashboard showing
the latest metrics and ongoing trends.
This is emailed to about a dozen stakeholders every
month, along with 1-3 paragraphs of commentary.
This might include discussions of traffic issues, links
to Profiles from news sources, upcoming areas of
concern, and updates on previously reported issues.
Our key metrics change over time, based on current
needs, but we rely heavily on the CTSA Research
Networking Affinity Group’s Recommendations for
RNS Usage Tracking released at VIVO 2013.
In addition to website usage metrics, we also collect
metrics on UCSF Profiles customization rates on a
separate automatically-updated online dashboard.
As of July 2014:
• 6,831 users on UCSF Profiles
• 71% (4,507) have publications
• 52% (3,329) have web links
• 30% (1,928) have a photo
• 19% (1,184) have a narrative/bio
• 14% (910) have NIH grants listed
• 10% (647) have news story links
• 9% (594) have awards/honors
• 8% (504) have global health profiles
• 7% (471) have user-generated keywords
• 1% (48) have Twitter accounts
• 1% (93) have featured publications
This work was supported by the National Center for
Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of
Health, through UCSF-CTSI Grant Number UL1 TR000004.
Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and
do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.
Daily (and not monthly) visits
Months vary in length. Focusing on average visits/day
means we won’t be misled if February (28 days) traffic is
down 10% vs. January (31 days).
Split internal vs. external traffic
We get 8 times more traffic from outside the UCSF campus
network than we do from inside. When the two are consolidated,
external traffic overwhelms internal, so we always split them up
to better understand and serve each audience.
(Google,%Bing,%UCSF.edu,%etc.) 280 1997
(direct,%referred%non=search) 75 416
daily%2+%minute%visits 52 231
%%returning%visits 71% 29%
avg.%load%time%(secs) 3.8 7.8
pageviews/day 194 3470
%%stay 67% 0%
Not all traffic sources are the same
UCSF Profiles gets most of its traffic from search engines, which
means we’re very dependent on pleasing Google’s search
algorithms. Splitting out search vs. non-search traffic allows us
to easily distinguish between hiccups in search engine
optimizations and issues with traffic from other sources.
Zoom in on serious usage
Some users use UCSF Profiles as a fancy directory, while others
use the search and networking features. We pay particular
attention to users using the site for more than 2 minutes per visit,
and particularly 2+ minute visits from within the internal UCSF
campus network. We believe these visits are most relevant to
New vs. returning visits
The proportion of visits from returning users has stabilized over
time, even as usage has kept growing. We track this to look for
anomalies indicating either a decline in site stickiness, or a
disproportionate jump in new usage. Because the numbers have
been static for some time, we’re considering removing this.
We ignored average page load time for a long time, until load
times skyrocketed after an upgrade. We now keep it in our
monthly dashboard to ensure site performance gets the attention
it needs to ensure a good user experience.
Home page traffic & retention rate
Most users access the site via search engines and never see the
home page. We track home page usage in pageviews, as well as
content performance as measured by the inverse of the bounce
rate (listed here as the % of users who stay on the site).
Profile page traffic & retention rate
Most UCSF Profiles users interact with individual profile pages. We
track both the number of profile page views per day as well as the
proportion of viewers who click on another page or engage with
interactive elements like features added via the Open Research
Networking Gadgets (ORNG).
Clinical and Translational Science Institute / CTSI
Accelerating Research to Improve Health U CS F