Cover by Sean Power, Alistair Croll

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Chapter 8. Could They Do It?: End User Experience Management

Web analytics is your best insight into your website, your brand, and your customers online. But if the site’s not working properly, there simply won’t be any activity to watch. Sites that aren’t reachable can’t sell things, and slow sites lose users. Google estimates that for every additional 500 milliseconds of delay, their site loses 20% of their traffic (http://web2.sys-con.com/node/804850).

Web applications break in strange and wonderful ways, many of which are beyond your control. Monitoring performance and uptime is usually the job of a web operations team, and it’s usually an IT function. And that’s the start of the problem.

In most companies, the skills needed to run a website are often broken up into distinct silos. One group is responsible for designing the application, another for testing it, another for managing the platforms and infrastructure, another for analyzing what happens on it, and another for understanding how web activity relates to community opinion.

This separation of roles might make sense on an organizational chart, but for web applications, it’s dysfunctional. Web analytics and web performance are two sides of the same coin. They should be in the same business unit and should be judged by metrics like user satisfaction, conversion rates, and uptime. The teams responsible for the website’s design, analytics, community, and support need to work alongside the web operations teams that are responsible ...

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