Wednesday, November 16, 2005

 

Why does the Google Analytics UI suck so much?

Google Analytics launched this week, and has certainly had its fair share of teething troubles in the first couple of days - with registration suspended for periods as the servers stuggled to cope with the demand.

However, now that I've managed to get it set up, I'm very unimpressed with the UI, which is poor in a number of respects.
Having said all that, the rest of the experience outside of the Flash displayed content is actually quite good. There's a good amount of AJAX driven dynamism to the site, and the data is laid out reasonably (with the possible exception of a wide strip of unused white space down the right of the page - could this be reserved for advertising I wonder?)

I'm also glad to see that there is the facility to export the data in alternative formats of tab separated data, xml, and as Excel data. However, this always seems to be restricted to the current view - I can't see a way to export all the data at once, which would be very useful.

Another disappointment is the poor support for printing - there is a "print" button, but all this does is hide a bit of the navigation - the layout of the remaining items is not adjusted at all to take advantage of the capabilites of the printed page. Compare this to Google Maps, which makes sure that printed driving instructions look good on paper, with a quite different appearance to that which is appropriate for on screen display.

Update: Found another problem with the map - when you click on a result on the map, it shows you a set of details in a popup - but the popup always appears below and to the right of the point. So, when you have a load of points in Australia to look at, the popups are truncated since they can't go outside the Flash borders, so you can't see the data.

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