After being in the Internet and online media business now for the last decade or more, I have come to learn one thing; with any project or product you’re working on, the analytics and stats are crucial to investigate opportunities to refine and adjust. In the past, this activity consisted of opening up some dated PC with a special software package to data mine whatever it is you’re looking to create a report for. Jump ahead a few years, and you now have most of the more notable services online, and available via a simple dashboard login or, better yet, a mobile app for android or iPhone!
In past weeks, I have found and reviewed on my own designer app blog app.itize.us some very useful and elegantly designed apps that focus on a wide variety of data and statistics presentation. The apps range from from plugging into Google analytics for detailed insights with analytics to skimming with the humorously named but accurately described crackalytics, data mining your WordPress blog with wordpress statistics, tracking the sales trends of your favorite apps across iTunes with positionapp, or just having a quick glance-able dashboard of all your online social network service stats with ego. It’s clear to me that there is a growing need for up-to-date access to ones personal data universe on the go and in an easy to understand and analyze format.
I own all of the apps mentioned above, and they all allow me to keep track of my growing blog audience, bounce rates, twitter followers, and what apps are trending to keep an eye out for possible reviews. Is this information overload to the extreme? How much time will this suck from one’s life as they double and triple check their stats? It seems to me that in some ways it is; but, as an entrepreneur or business owner, its also critical that one has access to these facts and figures to be as informed as possible about the activity surrounding a blog, its reviews, sites linking and most importantly sales. Having all of these services available on a mobile phone definitely cuts the signal to noise ratio down to manageable bite sized chunks, making it easy to consume, but does it set us on a path of constant app-alytics syndrome?
To be fair, all of the apps I have mentioned are very useful and well designed. I am not convinced that owning and using them on a regular basis is a detriment to ones online or mobile browsing experience. This activity has a productive and potentially profitable outcome for most who use them properly. Rather then spending a few minutes waiting for the train to arrive playing dopplganger, you may be on your stats app checking referring links (no disrespect, its a fantastic app, but, you get my point). To some this activity may seem weird or geeky, but to many, this would be a better use of personal idle time. What do you think?
Jason Fields is a user experience design professional having spent more than 15 years in the online and mobile web space. Originally from Los Angeles, then San Francisco he currently lives in London with his wife and son and works for the BBC as a UX&D department head. In his spare time he writes the design focused iPhone app review blog app.itize.us, a curated presentation of the best designed iphone apps available.