Posts Tagged ‘Google Analytics’

Design for Intuitiveness

April 13th, 2010 No comments

Last week we got a new shipment of beautiful clear blue Nalgene BPAfree OTG water bottles to Idealab. I picked one and filled it with water from the cooler in order to drink at my desk. When I reached to my desk I tried to open the top with my thumb in what I thought was the right way to open based on the lid’s design (pic below).

Trying to open a Nalgene OTG Water Bottle

Surprisingly, nothing happened. I applied more power using my thumb but the lid refused to open. I looked closely at the lid’s opening mechanism to make sure I got it right. I tried to push it in a different angel but it remained locked. As a desperate move, I tried to push and squeeze the black rubber that covers the top of the lid, just because it looks “press-able”. Nothing happened. I spent a good 30-45 seconds trying to open the lid in all sorts of ways, applying more and less power, trying to pull the cover away from the lock yet it did not open.

I almost gave up and was about to unscrew the lid and drink the water directly from the bottle. But then, as I was holding the lid using two fingers and gently squeezing it between my fingers, it poped and opened (picture 2 below).

Finally opened a Nalgene OTG Water Bottle

That was a eureka moment for me and from that point I “adjusted” the way I open the bottle. I am not sure exactly why it did not work originally. I can only assume that for a brand new water bottle the lid had to be opened 20-30 times to make the mechanism loose enough to work as intended but what is clear is that the product does not “Allows for easy one handed operation” out of the box like its web page says.

I wanted to test if it was only me who could not open the bottle so I asked two colleges to try opening it (of course without telling them what is the right way to do it) and they both followed the same steps I did and quickly got pretty frustrated that the lid did not open. They also applied more and more power and nothing happened until they concluded that “something is wrong with this bottle”.

Why am I telling this story? Simple. To remind product managers and designers to always evaluate the intuitiveness of their designs and whether it actually works in the real world.

I am sure that if the Nalgene designers were sitting next to me while I was struggling with their water bottle, they would go back to the drawing board and work on a new design that actually works.

For anyone who is in the business of designing and building web products and services things are a lot easier than to those creating physical products. There are many great tools that let you see exactly how users use and interact with your website. All you need is to install and use them. Beyond the obvious Google Analytics, I also recommend ClickTale, a great service that records user behavior and lets you watch complete user sessions as videos. And finally, let friends and family try the product and watch, like a fly on the wall, how they interact with it. When they are done completing the tasks you gave them interview them and see how well they can describe what they were doing and how they were using your website. You will learn a ton from it and probably have to change a few things to make your product more intuitive.

Seen In The Wild – Google Ads for Advertisers

June 2nd, 2009 3 comments

In the last year I have seen several house ads running on the AdSense network, promoting different Google services such as Chrome, Picasa and Google Analytics. But today while reading TechCrunch, I saw for the first time an ad targeted to acquire new advertisers.

I wonder if that is a response to the fact Microsoft AdCenter came out of beta recently or to the Bing launch, a search engine that I highly recommend using.

BTW, does anyone know if (and how much) Google pays publishers when visitors clicks on these house ads and take action (download picasa or chrome, sign up for analytics or as advertisers)?



Social Media Services As A Growing Source Of Traffic

March 12th, 2009 2 comments

My blog gets a fairly small number of visitors and page views every month. But just like TechCrunch, Fred Wilson and Sean Percival, I decided to take a look at my Google Analytics account and see how much link love social media services like Twitter, Facebook and others send here.

Below is February 09 referring sites data and a couple of observations:

  • February was not a usual month for this blog in term of traffic. At the begining of the month, my Tropicana’s poor re-branding post was picked by FastCompany and the blog recieved (and still continues to) large number of readers.
  • As pointed out by the bloggers I mentioed above, social media services are becoming major traffic drivers in the overall mix of referring sites. Specifically in my blog’s case, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Ginx (a Twitter interface), Facebook and Outbrain appear high on the list. In addition, their positions improved compared to previous months.
  • Users referred by social media services seems to be of “better quality” than users referred by Google. These users tend to spend more time and often read more than the specific page they land on. In addition, a smaller percentage of them, compared to users referred by search engines, hit the browser’s Back button immediately after seeing the landing page (bounce rate %).

I will keep following whether this trend continues to grow over time and post about it.

meydad_com - referring sites feb 2009


February 12th, 2009 4 comments

Yesterday this blog & I reached some pretty encouraging milestones:

Milestone 1– My previous post, about Outbrain’s round B, was my 200th post since I began blogging almost 2 years ago. Who would imagine that would happen so fast?

Milestone 2 – The same 200th blog post made it to Techmeme and that was the first time my blog was featured on the popular tech news aggregation service.

lifemashup ( on techmeme for the first time

Milestone 3 – My 198th post about Tropicana’s terrible re-branding was mentioned in this FastCompany article about Pepsi’s logo redesign. That article has been sending tons of new traffic to my blog. It was the first time a post I wrote received over 1000 unique page views in one day (to be precise, 1127 UPV on 2/11/2009). - top pages for 2009-02-11

I wonder what would be the next one?

Time For A Change On

January 28th, 2009 3 comments

One of my new year resolutions was to refresh the design of this blog with a new theme. I am happy that it took me less than a month to complete it and get it off my task list.

I am now using the stylish iNove theme, created by mg12. I like its simplicity, cleanses and how it brings the content to the front. I also find the RSS button implementation very cool (hover over the button to see it). Hopefully it will get more people to subscribe to this blog and consume my thoughts regularly via RSS readers or email.

I kept only the essential widgets on the site in order to shorten page load time:

  • Twitter badge shows the number of followers I have on twitter (if you are not one of them, now it is a good time to do it) and the latest twits.
  • MyBlogLog gives me information about the community who reads this blog
  • Disqus powers the comments and integrates very well with this theme and WordPress
  • Outbrain lets you rate my posts and provide feedback that helps me improve my writing over time
  • And of course, all external hyperlinks are enhanced using the product we have created at Snap – SnapShots
  • For analytics I use both SiteMeter and Google Analytics.

The last credit goes to Alex Sirota, founder of FoxyTunes, who took my portrait picture that is displayed at the top right corner.

I hope you will like like the new design as much as I do.

Behind the scenes of this blog

November 29th, 2007 No comments

Several readers and friends have asked me for tips and suggestions on how they can improve their blog or how to start  a blog. I thought it would make sense to list what powers this blog.

  • Hosting service – I host this domain on were I get much more that what I used to get from my previous crappy provider. I get more space (disk space, # of domains, email accounts etc), better tools, good CS support and a good price.


  • Blogging platform – I use (self hosted). In my opinion this open source blogging platform is the best. It keeps evolving, improving and it provides a large variety of themes and plug-ins which extends ever further the platform’s capabilities. I have tried using other platforms such as Typepad, Vox, Blogger and the hosted and none come close to the capabilities of a self hosted blog.


  • WordPress Plug-ins – One of the great things about WordPress is the variety of themes and plug-ins. The control panel inside WordPress makes it very easy to activate/deactivate plug-ins or switch themes. Here are the ones that are currently installed:
    • SnapShots – The product I am very proud to be one of its creators, provides a better user experience and an entirely new source of ad inventory for every web site owners.
    • Akisment – eliminate blog comments spam
    • WordPress Blog stats
    • All In One SEO pack
    • iWPhone – A plug-in that automatically reformats your blog’s content for optimized viewing on Apple’s iPhone.
    • AddThis – social bookmarking & sharing made easy
    • WordPress Database backup
    • Current theme installed is ISM – this might change in the future


  • Other Sidebar widgets
    • Lijit – Search tools for a blog
    • MyBlogLog
    • Feedburner for content syndication (don’t forget to offer a “Subscribe By Email” option)
    • Site Analytics done by Google Analytics, SiteMeter with help from Lijit and MyBlogLog (all services show different stats for some reason…)



I hope it helps those who are currently blogging or about to start blogging.