Constel Analytics: a visual tool for web analytics

Denis Lalanne
Pierre Vanhulst
Project status: 

Web Analytics is a significant tool in the hands of webmasters: knowing who your users are and how they fare on your website is definitely useful, as it can both help with marketing and usability. Still, the basic assumption of this master thesis is that web analytics remains largely underexploited, notably because of the way data are displayed: it is hard to get something out of the amount of collected data. While many users know how to gather basic statistics, fewer are those who use the full extent of modern systems.

The first part of this project focuses on defining what Web Analytics is and, in the light of this definition, what is its closely related field of research known as « Data Visualization ». Based on this, we reviewed a set of existing web analytics solutions in order to assert whether their visualizations could be more informative and make complex relationships easier to understand. As we concluded that there was room for improvement, we selected one of the reviewed solution as a base – Google Analytics - and used its data to build an application.

This application – called “Constel Analytics” - had one main goal: displaying the interactions between the pages of a website in a comprehensive way. Amongst its side objectives, it also aimed at being easy to adopt, adapt and deploy for most webmasters. Using open-source technologies at its core, Constel Analytics was evaluated on two Swiss institutional websites. While the results of the evaluation highlighted a few limitations, the visualization was globally successful and remains open for further development.