BY THE NUMBERS
Using Analytics to Support
Website Design Choices
Nick Valentino
@nickwebguy • nickv@yorku.ca
Wednesday, 31...
About York University
• Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
• 3rd largest university, 2nd largest campus in Canada
• 56,00...
About York University
• Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
• 3rd largest university, 2nd largest campus in Canada
• 56,00...
About York University
• Decentralized model for many services, including
• communications
• information technology
• web d...
About York University
• Decentralized model for many services, including
• communications
• information technology
• web d...
About York University
• Decentralized model for many services, including
• communications
• information technology
• web d...
About York University
• Decentralized model for many services, including
• communications
• information technology
• web d...
About York University
• Division of Students
• all non-academic, student facing departments
• Recruitment, Registrar, Stud...
Story time...
5
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
Some basic stats
• All statistics are drawn from the period Sept 1, 2011 to
June 30, 2012
• Unique visitors: 1,230,139
• U...
Challenges
• Basic design, including “global nav”
• Web apps under other jurisdictions
• online application
• application ...
The previous design
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The previous design
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The previous design
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The previous design
Header mandated by
Marketing
Image carousel for
high-profile messages
Arguably, most important
item on...
The previous design
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The previous design
No one was clicking on
anything inside this box
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
Where the clicks are going
Current Students
Programs
MyFile
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
Where the clicks are going
2,993,963
290,245
77,665
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
Where the clicks are going
2,993,963
290,245
77,665
16,522
33,432
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
Where the clicks are going
2,993,963
290,245
77,665
16,522
33,432
24%!
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
How we knew where the clicks...
• In-Page Analytics
• Where people are
clicking
• Identify most
popular links on
any page
...
How we knew where the clicks...
• Visitor flow
• Confirms what other analytics tell us about users’ paths through the
site...
How we knew where the clicks...
• Top pages
• consistently shows programs
as the top destination after
home page
• graduat...
How we knew where the clicks...
• Landing Pages
• shows that the vast majority
of visits begin at the home
page
• Programs...
How we knew where the clicks...
• Exit pages
• Three of the most visited requirements pages are among the most
frequent ex...
The new design
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The new design
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The new design
Image carousel
Upcoming Tours and Events
What’s New
Social Media links
Ask An Expert
Honking big RED button...
The new design
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The new design
Programs List
Search
List Navigation
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The model
• Graduate program pages have
always included admission
requirements.
• Also include deadline dates
• Admissions...
The new design
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The new design
Program Description
Cohort Selection Tool
Link to Faculty Page
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The new design
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
The new design
Program specific
requirements
Last year’s cut-offs
Minimum
requirements
Links to other
requirements pages
W...
The new design
All program specific
requirements
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
Results
• Pageviews for key areas actually down ~10%
• Streamlined the path through key areas
• Increased time spent on pr...
Mobile challenges
• Again, only able to affect the Future Students website
• No mobile versions of application or MyFile (...
Mobile design
• Adaptive, not responsive
• Focused content
• Carousel
• Programs/Requirements path
• Social media links
30...
Mobile design
• Could not include
• online application
• MyFile application status
• campus tours
31
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
Mobile results
• Mobile traffic increased 775%
• Not sure how much that has to do with us
• Mobile traffic to programs up
...
Next Steps
• Continued analysis
• Refinement: changes to homepage, etc.
• Year-over-year analysis to accompany monthly rep...
34
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
QUESTIONS?
Wednesday, 31 July, 13
BY THE NUMBERS
Using Analytics to Support
Website Design Choices
Nick Valentino
@nickwebguy • nickv@yorku.ca
Wednesday, 31...
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By The Numbers: Using Analytics to Support Web Design Choices

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Effective website design requires input from a variety of sources, but none so vital as that of the site's users themselves. Website analytics, set up and maintained well, are the ultimate user feedback mechanism and will identify the successes and failures of visual design and information architecture. This presentation will demonstrate the design-collect-evaluate-redesign process York University used to re-develop the most fundamental aspects of its Future Student web presence. Through this example, we will see how analytics data chronicled user interactions and how the design was re-worked to respond to them.

What can you take away from this presentation?
- A successful design-collect-evaluate-redesign process
- Better, more in-depth use of analytics
- Data-driven design approach

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By The Numbers: Using Analytics to Support Web Design Choices

  1. 1. BY THE NUMBERS Using Analytics to Support Website Design Choices Nick Valentino @nickwebguy • nickv@yorku.ca Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  2. 2. About York University • Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada • 3rd largest university, 2nd largest campus in Canada • 56,000+ students (~6,000 post-graduate) • 7,000+ employees 2 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  3. 3. About York University • Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada • 3rd largest university, 2nd largest campus in Canada • 56,000+ students (~6,000 post-graduate) • 7,000+ employees 2 • Our own “common” Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  4. 4. About York University • Decentralized model for many services, including • communications • information technology • web design and development 3 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  5. 5. About York University • Decentralized model for many services, including • communications • information technology • web design and development 3 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  6. 6. About York University • Decentralized model for many services, including • communications • information technology • web design and development 3 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  7. 7. About York University • Decentralized model for many services, including • communications • information technology • web design and development 3 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  8. 8. About York University • Division of Students • all non-academic, student facing departments • Recruitment, Registrar, Student Services, Sport Services, etc. 4 • Our communications team • divided into content and technology teams • work closely together to develop online and offline solutions • centerpiece is Future Students website Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  9. 9. Story time... 5 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  10. 10. Some basic stats • All statistics are drawn from the period Sept 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 • Unique visitors: 1,230,139 • Unique pageviews: 9,262,500 • Pages/Visit: 5.61 • Avg. Visit Duration: 4:41 • Bounce rate: 28.48% • % New Visits: 50.60% Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  11. 11. Challenges • Basic design, including “global nav” • Web apps under other jurisdictions • online application • application for checking application status (MyFile) • Site built on “marginally supported” (by central IT) framework 7 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  12. 12. The previous design Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  13. 13. The previous design Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  14. 14. The previous design Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  15. 15. The previous design Header mandated by Marketing Image carousel for high-profile messages Arguably, most important item on page Social media links Ask an Expert Link to sign up for a tour Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  16. 16. The previous design Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  17. 17. The previous design No one was clicking on anything inside this box Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  18. 18. Where the clicks are going Current Students Programs MyFile Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  19. 19. Where the clicks are going 2,993,963 290,245 77,665 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  20. 20. Where the clicks are going 2,993,963 290,245 77,665 16,522 33,432 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  21. 21. Where the clicks are going 2,993,963 290,245 77,665 16,522 33,432 24%! Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  22. 22. How we knew where the clicks... • In-Page Analytics • Where people are clicking • Identify most popular links on any page 15 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  23. 23. How we knew where the clicks... • Visitor flow • Confirms what other analytics tell us about users’ paths through the site 16 ©  2013  Google http://futurestudents.yorku.ca  -­  http://futurestudents.yorku.ca Future  Students  [DEFAULT] Go  to  this  report Sep  1,  2011 -­ Jun  30,  2012sitors  Flow This  report  is  based  on  99.6K  visits  (4.29%  of  visits).  Learn  more Source  /  Medium 2.32M  Visits  818K  Drop  Offs 1.5M  Visits  395K  Drop  Offs 1.11M  Visits  254K  Drop  Offs 854K  Visits  165K  Drop  Offs Starting  pages 1st  Interaction 2nd  Interaction 3rd  Interaction (direct)  /  (none) 334K ... 298K yorku.ca  /  referral 951K google  /  organic 571K search  /  organic 82.3K ExactTarget  /  Email 85.3K / 942K (>100  more  pages) 819K /graduate/programs 132K /programs 135K /graduate/ 191K /program 103K /programs 152K /requiremen...highschool 76K /graduate/programs 140K (>100  more  pages) 879K /outbound 155K /outbound/a...n-­-­student 101K (>100  more  pages) 692K / 107K /program 96K /programs 77K /requirements 62K /outbound 74.7K (>100  more  pages) 520K /program 75.2K /graduate/programs 57.3K / 54.4K /programs 74.4K /outbound 73.1K ⇩ Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  24. 24. How we knew where the clicks... • Top pages • consistently shows programs as the top destination after home page • graduate programs pageviews exceed even the graduate home page • requirements pages account for next most numerous pageviews 17 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  25. 25. How we knew where the clicks... • Landing Pages • shows that the vast majority of visits begin at the home page • Programs also a frequent landing page 18 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  26. 26. How we knew where the clicks... • Exit pages • Three of the most visited requirements pages are among the most frequent exit pages. 19 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  27. 27. The new design Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  28. 28. The new design Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  29. 29. The new design Image carousel Upcoming Tours and Events What’s New Social Media links Ask An Expert Honking big RED button Steps to Apply Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  30. 30. The new design Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  31. 31. The new design Programs List Search List Navigation Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  32. 32. The model • Graduate program pages have always included admission requirements. • Also include deadline dates • Admissions requirements are much less complicated for grad programs 24 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  33. 33. The new design Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  34. 34. The new design Program Description Cohort Selection Tool Link to Faculty Page Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  35. 35. The new design Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  36. 36. The new design Program specific requirements Last year’s cut-offs Minimum requirements Links to other requirements pages Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  37. 37. The new design All program specific requirements Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  38. 38. Results • Pageviews for key areas actually down ~10% • Streamlined the path through key areas • Increased time spent on programs and requirements pages by 10-25% • Increased unique visitors to application by 27% • User testing shows more refinements to be made 28 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  39. 39. Mobile challenges • Again, only able to affect the Future Students website • No mobile versions of application or MyFile (application status) • As with desktop version, central marketing impose a design template • 97% of all traffic on desktops • tablet:mobile traffic almost 2:1 29 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  40. 40. Mobile design • Adaptive, not responsive • Focused content • Carousel • Programs/Requirements path • Social media links 30 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  41. 41. Mobile design • Could not include • online application • MyFile application status • campus tours 31 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  42. 42. Mobile results • Mobile traffic increased 775% • Not sure how much that has to do with us • Mobile traffic to programs up • from 2,700 pageviews to 64,000 • Mobile traffic to requirements up, like, 1,000,000% • Effectively dead-ended the mobile path due to limitations 32 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  43. 43. Next Steps • Continued analysis • Refinement: changes to homepage, etc. • Year-over-year analysis to accompany monthly reports • Use of other home page links as starting points • Better integration of Campus Tours, integration of Student Blogs • More user testing • More analysis and refinement Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  44. 44. 34 Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  45. 45. QUESTIONS? Wednesday, 31 July, 13
  46. 46. BY THE NUMBERS Using Analytics to Support Website Design Choices Nick Valentino @nickwebguy • nickv@yorku.ca Wednesday, 31 July, 13

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