Thursday, February 10, 2005

Reading the Tea Leaf

An engineer on one of my projects just sent a link to an eWeek article on the redesign of Tower Records' site. In just a few paragraphs, it turns into a report on TeaLeaf Technology's high-powered (and expensive) Web analytics software.

TeaLeaf says that its platform
provides real-time, browser-level visibility into every customer's online experience. By enabling your company to immediately detect, analyze, and respond to problems preventing successful customer transactions, TeaLeaf maximizes conversion rates while minimizing support costs.
TeaLeaf's software doesn't show exactly what users are seeing; eWeek says "the program analyzes a lot of available information and presents a likely view of what the customer is seeing" (my italics). Tower used it to discover where and why customers had difficulty with online forms. An executive explained, "A lot of the times the description of the problem is not really the problem, so having a tool that lets us see what really happened helps."

There's something a little creepy about gathering so much information about how people use your site. On the other hand, you gain deep insights into user behavior. Depending on your motives and application of the data, that's pretty UXCentric.

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