Full day training course

Analytics and User Experience

Interpreting data trends in conversions, pageviews, and other user actions to identify opportunities and guide UX design

For usability and user experience professionals, much of our decision-making has traditionally been driven by empirical data derived via qualitative research -- if we are lucky! With all the friction surrounding UX decisions (e.g., angry HiPPOs, disappointed designers, irritated IAs), quantitative data-driven decisions are very attractive. And getting attention from business executives and those who hold the purse-strings can be much easier when you've got quantifiable data to support your findings and recommendations.

In this course, we will outline the types of data that are available, the questions they can answer and how to incorporate these into the design process and complement existing qualitative research methods.

"I feel empowered to make a strong case for or against proposed redesigns based on my analyses."

Angela Runnals
Simon Fraser University

Please note: This course is not intended to provide instruction regarding how to use particular analytics packages.

Topics Covered

Topics Covered

  • Why use analytics and user research?
    • Triangulation
    • Merging who, what, and where with the why
  • How can analytics help UX folks?
    • Case studies of success using analytics data from UX teams in various organizations
  • UX Discovery
    • Issue Identification: Find problems to be solved with UX expertise
    • Strategy Guidance: Justifying projects, validating personas, informing customer journeys maps, and collecting background information necessary for design planning
    • Health Monitoring: Identify Goals, Signals, and Metrics to develop an ongoing measurement plan to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that indicate if there are UX issues
  • UX Optimization
    • Project Metrics: Determining project-specific metrics that can be measured before and after implementation to ensure satisfaction with your deliverables
    • Experimentation: Running and evaluating A/B and multivariate tests to improve results via different design and content variations
  • Goals
    • Different types of goals: transaction, engagement, etc.
    • Macro conversions indicating revenue-related or mission-critical transactions
    • Micro conversions indicating process milestones toward a macro conversion or secondary actions that indicate potential future macro conversions
  • Custom variables to track characteristics of users, sessions and particular pages people interact with to be used for more advanced analysis
  • Event tracking to capture actions users take within web pages such as downloading a document, interacting with a calculator, watching a video, filling out form fields, etc.
  • Metrics terminology and UX value/interpretations
    • Visits/Sessions
    • Unique visitors
    • Pageviews/Unique pageviews
    • Pages/visits
    • Average visit duration
    • Bounce rate
    • % new visits
    • Entrances
    • Exit rate
    • Page value
    • Average time on page
  • Analytics landscape
    • Enterprise-class analytics vendors
    • Other analytics vendors
    • UX analytics such as clickpath and heatmap tools
    • A/B testing vendors
  • Storytelling with data (versus reports and dashboards)
  • Report manipulation tools
    • Dimensions
    • Filters
    • Views
    • Segments
    • Navigation Summary
    • In-page analytics



The course is mainly in lecture format with lots of case studies and a few exercises to reinforce the learned principles and guidelines. Opportunities to ask questions and get answers.

Related Course

Related Course

NN/g offers two courses that focus on quantitative UX methods, but these courses address two different types of data collection:

  • Analytics and User Experience, the course described on this page, covers the use of data that is passively collected by recording all user actions on a live website or application.  Analyzing trends and outliers in this large body of data can identify UX opportunities and evaluate the success of UX designs.
  • Measuring UX is a different course which focuses on designing and analyzing quantitative usability studies, where a sample of representative users perform assigned tasks. The course provides you with tools to understand how much you can trust results obtained from any given quantitative study. While some of those tools can be applied to analyzing analytics data, Measuring UX presents them in the context of controlled usability studies.

Both of these methods can be applied to a variety of different websites and applications. Analytics data comes from a larger group of users in uncontrolled, but real-life situations. Quantitative usability studies allow you to put a number on your site’s usability and gather more in-depth and specific information about which tasks  are easy or difficult to perform on your site.


Participant Comments

Participant Comments

"Course struck a perfect balance between 20,000 ft. view and detailed view." 

Randy Leatherwood, DecisionHealth

"Although I have an analytics background, thre were many ideas presented that I hadn't considered as they apply to UX. I now have a lot of exciting work to do!"

Jennifer Pritchard, IGS Energy

"I've taken a Google Analytics course before but this was much better in that Aurora explained the hows and whys of analytics analysis. She provided great real life pointers to use immediately. Thank you!"


"Excellent overview of the landscape of metrics that are important to architects, designers, information strategists, data scientists. Practical, actionable insights."

Seth Earley, IEEE

  • More Participant Comments
    "Take this course if you've ever had to go over button colors or names because you'll learn a practical and defensible approach." 


    "Super helpful to understand how I can team up with the analytic specialist in my department to get more data that will influence my UX projects."

    Karly Cunningham, Northwell Health

    "This course is a fantastic introduction to the analytics landscape and those tools driving the UX market today."

    Kevin Alvey, IntelliDyne, LLC

    "One of the really great features was the courage of how analytics must be paired with other methods of user research. Very compelling information to take back to my team."

    Beth Gray, Kroger Co

    "This really helped me to connect the dots when it comes to analytics and how to use them in UX."

    Coral Herman, SocialCentiv

    "This is a very intensive course. The content is comprehensive, down to the earth and easy to absorb."

    Nie Zhenzhi, Tribal DDB

    "Very informative. Gave me so many ideas I have been emailing my company non-stop with questions."

    Marens Henry, BOE

    "Really like the case studies. They provided good insight into how to turn analytic findings into a UX hypothesis and actions."


    "I really like the 'real' examples. It cleared up most of my questions w/o asking."

    Daniel Abney, Bentley

    "Aurora delivers exceptional material and gives great insight for analytics in many different contents. While I do work in enterprise and the course was strongly based in consumer facing work, the principles applied here have been extremely helpful and has been my favorite class"


    "Great examples! A lot of insights and easy to digest complicated patterns and analysis. Best course on analytics I could imagine. Great speaker!"

    Aleksandra Klos, Roche Polska

    "Very useful range of skills and techniques, and fantastic use of case studies to reinforce the ideas! Well done, and thanks!"

    Flora MacLeod, IBM, London

    "This course allows me to connect the dots of what analytics metrics can be used to enable a better way of making data based decisions."

    Kyle McBride, Betsson Group, Malta

    "I liked the real world examples and before and after of how analytics helped drive design decisions and the results."


    "The case studies clarify the multiple ways different metrics can be applied so you can use data to validate UX based choices. Very helpful for onboarding of stakeholders in company."

    N. van Ommeren, Bol.com

    "Having used analytics for quite some time I feel like I finally know how to make the numbers tell the story."

    Aaron Hoffert, Rocket Media



Aurora Bedford

Aurora Bedford is a User Experience Specialist with Nielsen Norman Group. Prior to joining NN/g, Bedford was a User Experience Designer at a web development agency, where she created and refined user workflows, site architectures, and wireframes for a variety of e-commerce and branding websites, web-based intranets, and mobile applications. Her experiences as a front-end web developer allow her to create effective designs while balancing technical and business needs. Read more about Aurora.

Kathryn Whitenton

Kathryn Whitenton is Nielsen Norman Group's Digital Strategy Manager. She works with clients to evaluate the user experience and information architecture of websites in a variety of industries including technology, telecommunications, and media, as well as corporate intranets. She has conducted usability research, eyetracking user research, and studies of users on mobile devices in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Her user studies have included general audiences as well as specific consumer types, business segments, children, and seniors. Find out more about Kathryn.