Those of you who have read about SiteCatalyst 15 here and elsewhere probably know a few things about it: we’ve added powerful segmentation features, improved report performance, and made it easier than ever for marketers to take control of their implementations. But not to be totally overshadowed are the UI improvements and admin features that we hope will make your life just that much easier. Today I’d like to talk about just some of these changes.

The First One You’ll Notice

It’s hard for me to pick a “favorite usability improvement” from SiteCatalyst 15, but this one is definitely in the running. In SiteCatalyst 14, it often took up to four mouse clicks for you and your users to get to data. You’re not logging in to SiteCatalyst because it’s good for your health (although, for what it’s worth, medical research has yet to disprove my theory that SiteCatalyst is, in fact, good for you); no, you log in because you want to answer questions using data. In SiteCatalyst, we’ve made this easier than ever. When you click “Sign In,” you immediately get this:

Site Overview dashboard in SiteCatalyst 15

What is this? It’s a Site Overview dashboard that comes pre-configured and displays on login unless you have overridden it with a custom landing dashboard or report. Right here, your users can begin to answer questions such as:

  • How is my overall site traffic trending?
  • Which key pages on my site have high and low bounce rate?
  • How are visitors reaching my site?

And the best part (in my not-so-humble opinion)? Because this is a working dashboard, you can change the date range, the report suite, and the segment at both the entire dashboard level and/or the individual reportlet level. Without leaving this dashboard, you can begin your analysis.

And if you don’t like this dashboard, we’ve made it easy for you to change the landing page your users will see when they first log in.

Set a dashboard as landing page in SiteCatalyst 15

Just go to any dashboard and click More Actions > Set As Landing Page. Voila. Pat yourself on the back for giving your users exactly what they need in SiteCatalyst.

Change We Can All Believe In

Implicit in my statement that you “immediately get this [Site Overview dashboard]” is the fact that, with SiteCatalyst 15, we have done away with the “pinwheel” of products shown below. (I know you’re all thrilled, but please hold your applause.)

The product pinwheel in the Online Marketing Suite prior to SiteCatalyst 15

In addition to adding a click to your workflow, the pinwheel was disorienting and confusing to many users, who often weren’t sure whether they were supposed to choose SiteCatalyst, or Discover, or Test&Target, or some other product to get what they needed. Instead, with SiteCatalyst 15, the Online Marketing Suite helps out by automatically logging you in to the landing page for the last product that you used before you logged out. If you were using SiteCatalyst when you logged out, you’ll be placed in SiteCatalyst when you log in. Ditto for SearchCenter, Survey, etc. When you want to change products, we’ve moved the list to the upper-left corner, where our tests showed that users expected it to be:

Product drop-down in the Online Marketing Suite with SiteCatalyst 15

All products and tools are located here, which means no more digging around for Data Warehouse because it’s buried in a little drop-down menu to the far right of the product toolbar. That upper-left-hand corner is your one-stop shop for everything in the Online Marketing Suite.

(BONUS: The new product drop-down menu is actually available in SiteCatalyst 14, too, although the pinwheel still exists there, too.)

The VCU of SiteCatalyst 15

If you’re not an fan of American college basketball, this analogy may be lost on you. (When I used it during internal trainings, I got—at best—pity laughs.) Virginia Commonwealth University, or VCU, was a mostly unheard-of team that made a shocking run to the Final Four this past March. In other words, they were a little group of scrappy underdogs whom nobody predicted would do much in the tournament, but who ultimately shocked us all and captured our appreciation. This next feature is kind of like that. It seemed little when our development team added it, but customers have responded to it in a big way, letting us know how much easier this is going to make their lives, and the lives of their users, in SiteCatalyst 15.

At the top of the left navigation menu in SiteCatalyst 15 you will find a text box where you can enter a search string.

Inline report search feature in SiteCatalyst 15

As you type, the list of available reports whittles itself down to include only report names that match your search. If you needed to give someone directions in SiteCatalyst 14, you had to say something like this: “Okay, Fred, go to the Custom Conversion menu, then go to Custom Conversion 1-10, then go to Product Finding Methods.”

You can now simply say, “Okay, Fred, just type ‘Product Finding Methods’ into the text box, then go to the only option available to you!

Inline report search feature in SiteCatalyst 15

Hopefully, gone are the days of scouring through lists of hundreds of reports to find the one that you want. As long as you know the name—or even part of the name—you can get to it in a matter of a few seconds.

You can also search through your list of dashboards and bookmarks in a similar way, using the search field under “Favorites” on the left navigation menu. No more scanning through thousands of dashboards!

Ban Irrelevant Metrics!

Is there anything worse than going to a Custom Conversion report and seeing Revenue as the default metric when Revenue makes no sense in that report? Maybe your site doesn’t even record revenue as a metric, or maybe it just simply is out of context in the given report. Of course, we could be talking about any metric; the point is that, until now, you have often had to load up a report, then remember to change the metric in order to get data you can use. Sure, you could change the default metrics at the report suite level, but that’s less than ideal when certain metrics are relevant in some places but not others.

SiteCatalyst 15 introduces the concept of default metrics on individual reports. In any report where you can select metrics, admin-level users will have a little arrow next to the “Add Metrics” button. When you click this arrow, you will have the option to set the current set of metrics as default for the current report only. It doesn’t affect other reports or report suites; all users of that report will see the metrics you choose.

Set Default Metrics feature in SiteCatalyst 15

I can set Revenue, Visits, and Add To Registry as my default metrics in one report, and then set Leads Generated, Product Views, and Unique Visitors as my default metrics in another report. You (and your users) should never have to see “No Data” messages due to irrelevant metrics again! This will lead to much less confusion due to strange combinations of data dimensions and metrics in SiteCatalyst, and much faster/easier reporting and analysis.

The Ninth-Ranked Idea on the Idea Exchange

This feature is for admin users only, but it’s worth mentioning to everybody. One reason I want to mention it is that it somehow became the ninth most promoted idea on the Idea Exchange. Admins can now go to Admin > User Management and see exactly which users are logged into Adobe Discover for their company, along with the last action performed by these users within Discover. If necessary, admin users can kill current Discover sessions if they need to reclaim a floating license for some immediate need.

Discover Manage Users feature in SiteCatalyst 15

No more waiting in a queue if you have an insatiable desire to get into Discover immediately (or, you know, if you need an answer for a key meeting beginning in three minutes. . . or whatever).

The Feature Formerly Known As “Impersonate”

(We thought “Impersonate” sounded too creepy.)

Last but certainly not least is an admin feature that also came highly promoted via the Idea Exchange: the ability for admin users to log in to SiteCatalyst as their non-admin users without requiring the users’ passwords. We’re calling it “Log In As User.”

'Log In As User' Feature in SiteCatalyst 15

There are a number of uses for this feature, such as helping your non-admin users set up reports and dashboards on their own account, validating that permissions are working as you expect, and more. We wanted to empower our admin users to support their organizations in every possible way, and this was a key component as suggested by the 37 votes this one received in the Idea Exchange. (In case you’re concerned about shenanigans, have no fear; we are logging every action taken while you’re logged in as one of your non-admin users. These logs are available in the Admin Console.)

Conclusion

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, these are only some of the things we’ve done to improve usability and admin functionality in SiteCatalyst 15. (For example, should I talk about the vastly improved action toolbar at the top of reports? I will not. But it’s cool.) We hope you will enjoy these features and many others not described here. Please let us know what you like (and don’t like?) about the new SiteCatalyst UI. We have done a tremendous amount of work to respond to your usability feedback already, and we’re certainly not done yet.

As always, if you have any questions about anything in this post, or about anything else related to the Adobe Online Marketing Suite, please leave a comment here or contact me on Twitter and I’ll do my best to get you the information that you need.

3 comments
nic
nic

Ah, there it is, thanks:-) I think I will use Idea Exchange to propose to show an exclamation mark whenever there are new notes. I definately need to convince you guys to let me switch to SCv15 very soon. It looks pretty cool _and_ useful. Good combination. so long nic

nic
nic

Hi Ben, are the homepage announcements still present somewhere. I like to use them to let my users know about important stuff. so long nic

Ben Gaines
Ben Gaines

Nic, Yes, they are. Look for them under "Notices" in the green header at the top of the page. Thanks, Ben