Google Analytics Just Got Worse

I’ve been recommending Google Analytics since I first heard about it. The system is free, easy to use, detailed, filled with features – it gives almost everything I need to know about visitor tracking.

And now they managed to make the interface worse: the new interface will completely replace the old one in just a few days.

Here are some things that the new interface does worse:

  • They say that now it’s possible to customize the dashboard, but if you try to get rid of the “overview” (or make it smaller) which is eating most of the space, you realize you cannot do that customization as you’d like. I’d like to get a much smaller font on that “overview” and watch a much smaller monthly graph.
  • Second big minus is that it takes 3 clicks to change the monthly statistics! In the earlier dashboard you could do it by clicking once.
  • Similarly you could select the range from the left side, and then browse different systems (like pageviews and visits) automatically. Now you have to click right side, move your mouse to left side, click a radio button (that displays pageviews etc.) and again if you want to change: you need to repeat that procedure. You literally have to move the mouse cursor across the screen to get what you want – why? Why couldn’t they place the “visits” tab to the left side, or alternatively move the options to the right side?

In summary the new interface uses too big graphs, has too big font, doesn’t really let me customize the way I want. The graphs take too much white space (I didn’t need to scroll stuff on the earlier interface) and is (annoyingly) removing the old interface. I’m certain that they had marketing people and technical people sketching the new system, but for some reason I feel that the usability doesn’t match the quality of the system.

Oh well, it’s still free so there’s not much to do about this but hope that they either improve the UI, or switch to some alternative system. Or simply get used with the new interface.

13 thoughts on “Google Analytics Just Got Worse

  1. HoboBen

    If just a few visual tweaks is all you need, how about a Firefox extension like Greasemonkey?
    http://www.greasespot.net/

    If that one is no good, I’m sure that there’s several other ways of doing the same job in Firefox.

    If you use the Opera browser, you can scale pages in/out, which resizes images too (Firefox Ctrl+Plus/Minus only resizes text). That might be another good option, and there are Firefox extensions which can emulate the same behaviour too.

    Reply
  2. Sharpfish

    Maybe it is just because it’s new and will take getting used to, but for the moment I agree. It takes up too much space and seems slower. I’ve been sticking to the old interface hoping it wouldn’t dissapear too soon but now I hear it is I guess i’m gonna have to bite the bullet and learn to love the new one. ;)

    And to the guy who mentioned static counter, that’s a different kind of thing to analytics… lots of sites have their own hit counter for quick reference but analytics is a far more in depth tool and should be use as well as not instead of a regular traffic counter imo :)

    Reply
  3. Jake Birkett

    Maybe it would be more accurate to say “Some portions of Google Analytics got worse in my opinion” ;-)

    Anyway I do believe “Don’t complain” may apply here (just to rub it in some more)

    Reply
  4. HoboBen

    Because (or at least I think it is) Google Analytics is done by including JavaScript, many people will just have it blocked, either because JavaScript is turned off for external websites, or because of Firefox extensions like AdBlock Plus. Plus, it takes a while to load. I always notice my browser hanging on Google Analytics when I’ve not blocked it.

    Perhaps you might find server-side statistics are both better, and also more customisable too if you’re willing to just edit the CSS stylesheets that the software is using.

    A quick Google gave me this, which looks quite nice:
    http://wettone.com/code/slimstat

    It looks easy to use too – just upload, and add one line of code to your webpage. Maybe it’d be a good alternative?

    Either way, cheers :-)
    - Hobo.

    Reply
  5. Ben

    I think you’ll find you’re in the minority in disliking the new interface. The general consensus amongst web developers (and I’ve read a lot of reviews in the past few weeks) is that it’s far better than the old version, and IMO it is.

    It’s much easier to find the information you want to find now and for me that’s the most important thing.

    Reply
  6. Nabil

    I’ve gotta say, I much prefer the new interface. I find it singificantly easier and more intuitive to navigate to the data I want. I’d hardly call it perfect, but I do think it’s a marked improvement.

    Just goes to show, you can please some of the people some of the time…

    Reply
  7. Joonas

    I use Google Analytics a lot at work for client cases, and for me, the change is absolutely for the better. Information is better organized; clients “get it” when shown much more easily. I do recommend it more after the change; before, I had to explain that it’s not as complicated as it looks. And the bigger, bolder graphics display a lot better at presentations :) Of course it would be better to have an option for smaller size displays and so on, too.

    Reply
  8. Toraux

    I use statcounter.com, completely free and after a recent update they store detailed info for your last 500 visitors, and you can expand that by paying some amount. I’ve never used google analytics so I don’t know how much detailed info they store for you but for the average user statcounter is pretty good.

    Reply

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