Alpha — design and measure

At the start of the Alpha stage, you should have a good understanding of the user journey and know what the major stages of the user journey are.

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Design with measurement in mind

Design and development decisions can make effective measurement difficult or impossible. Consider performance measurement early during design.

Why it's in the guide

You must clean messy data generated by poor design structures before you can analyse it. Designing your environment to support tidy data creation will speed up data processing.

Thinking about measurement during design

Google Analytics is designed to track pageviews and  store data on serial interactions, such as sessions. Any technology that doesn’t use traditional pageviews can make things difficult to track. For example, you may have a form with many pages that loads the content of each page without a change in the URL. Because the URL does not change, Google Analytics does not recognise a page has changed. This means the software can’t track a user’s progress due to the design of the form.

Be careful of content in iframes. These often come with their own embedded Google Analytics code. Google Analytics also has limited ability to track software frameworks such as angular.js effectively. You may need to understand the trade offs when using components in terms of generating key performance indicators. 

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Segment key audiences

Different groups of users may have different needs. Split your audience into different groups, or segments, to understand how your service performs for each group.

Why it's in the guide

If you design your services to be inclusive, your analytics will reflect this. When you identify groups of users, you can analyse how different demographic groups use your service. Internal users may skew your statistics by hiding or highlighting external user behaviour.

How you can meet the guide

Government policies and services can focus on supporting a region or group of people. Google Analytics dimensions lets agencies create user segments. If you decide to turn on demographic information, it is important that you update your privacy statement to tell  users you are collecting basic demographic data in line with Google’s policies.  It is important that you still  Keep data anonymous when segmenting your users.

Identifying government and non-government visitors

People working on government websites want to know who accesses their site from your organisation, other agencies, and from non-government networks. Each of these groups have different outcomes they want to achieve, and how they navigate a website or use a service reflects this.  

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Measure what matters

Learn how to measure what really matters. Set key performance indicators and track them over time to know if your service is improving.

Why it's in the guide

Every service must aim for continuous improvement. Metrics are an important starting point for discussions about a service’s strengths and weaknesses. By identifying and capturing the right metrics — with the right tools — you can make sure all your decisions to improve the service are supported by data.
- Digital Service Standard 11: Measure Performance

When we define success, we know what we want to measure but can get stuck on how. Some metrics work better as a group rather than on their own, and it’s important to use the metrics that measure the right thing up front.

It is also important to use metrics that help you test what you have defined as success. Don’t just measure what will prove your success — measure what will question your assumptions. For example, you may want to measure pageviews because an increase would demonstrate popularity. However, pageviews on their own do not tell you how users get to the page, how long they spend there, where they go afterward, or how they interact with the content.

How to measure what matters

When developing performance indicators, it is important your metrics answer the deeper question.  Are you placing your users into segments, such as rural or urban users? Are you measuring an activity, such as what time of day users access your service the most? If you are not collecting the time of day or location information, then you can’t show your service is meeting its performance indicators.

Helpful resources

Use Google Tag Manager (GTM) and the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol to include events from services that don’t use traditional tracking such as API services.

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Get in touch

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