One com­plaint I occa­sion­ally hear about the Site­Cat­a­lyst inter­face is that there are just too many reports or options. If you’re new to Site­Cat­a­lyst or even web ana­lyt­ics, log­ging into Site­Cat­a­lyst for the first time can be a daunt­ing expe­ri­ence. With­out any train­ing or guid­ance from a more expe­ri­enced user, novice users may strug­gle to find the right infor­ma­tion. A por­tion of these new users will invest the time to learn the tool and lever­age its power, but oth­ers may give up pre­ma­turely. If you want to drive adop­tion of Site­Cat­a­lyst across your orga­ni­za­tion, you need to ensure new or causal users have a good expe­ri­ence with its inter­face and reports.

Rather than look­ing at all of the reports and options in Site­Cat­a­lyst as a prob­lem, you need to view them as an oppor­tu­nity. In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing more options, Site­Cat­a­lyst gives you the flex­i­bil­ity to cre­ate your ideal menu struc­ture through menu cus­tomiza­tion. Nobody walks into a Sub­way restau­rant and says “too many options”. No one is going to build their sand­wich using every pos­si­ble bread, meat, veg­etable, and sauce com­bi­na­tion at the same time — not even a can­di­date for the Biggest Loser TV show. Instead, you build a custom-made sand­wich with the spe­cific ingre­di­ents that you want. The more options your Sub­way restau­rant pro­vides, the more likely that you’ll be able to cre­ate your dream sand­wich and not have to set­tle for some­thing less appe­tiz­ing. (Remind me not to write blog posts when I’m hungry).

Sur­pris­ingly, many com­pa­nies don’t real­ize that the out-of-the-box Site­Cat­a­lyst menu struc­ture can be fully cus­tomized like a sub­ma­rine sand­wich, using SiteCatalyst’s menu cus­tomiza­tion fea­ture and cus­tom reports. You’re not stuck with a lim­ited set of options — you can make your Site­Cat­a­lyst menu as sim­ple or as advanced as your users need.

How to cus­tomize your Site­Cat­a­lyst menu

Before I dis­cuss some of the best prac­tices and poten­tial lim­i­ta­tions, I’d like to focus on the basics of cus­tomiz­ing a Site­Cat­a­lyst menu. First, you need to be an admin user in order to access the Admin Con­sole where you can cus­tomize the menus. Sec­ond, if you are an admin user, you nav­i­gate to the menu cus­tomiza­tion area using the fol­low­ing steps:

  1. Click on Admin but­ton (top-right)
  2. Select Report Suites from the drop-down menu
  3. Select the appro­pri­ate report suite and then click the Edit Set­tings button
  4. On the drop-down menu, select Gen­eral
  5. At the bot­tom of the Gen­eral slide-out menu, you click on Cus­tomize Menu

Once you’re in the Menu Cus­tomiza­tion tool, you have the fol­low­ing key options:

  1. Repo­si­tion fold­ers or reports to new loca­tions: You may not like the order, hier­ar­chy, or orga­ni­za­tion of the Site­Cat­a­lyst fold­ers or reports. With this fea­ture, you can re-arrange them to what’s most log­i­cal for your company.
  2. Cre­ate new fold­ers: You may want to include addi­tional fold­ers or sub­fold­ers to bet­ter orga­nize your organization’s reports.
  3. Hide fold­ers or reports: Some of the default reports may not be rel­e­vant to your busi­ness (e.g., com­merce reports for a gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tion) or you may want to stream­line the menu struc­ture by remov­ing less impor­tant reports that you feel may dis­tract your users. (Note: you can only hide default fold­ers or reports, not delete them).
  4. Rename fold­ers or reports: You may want to rename default fold­ers and reports using inter­nal ter­mi­nol­ogy so that they are more intu­itive and clear for your end users.

After you make all of your changes to the menu and save them, you can either log out of Site­Cat­a­lyst and log back in to see your menu changes, or just select a dif­fer­ent report suite from the drop-down selec­tor and then return to the mod­i­fied report suite to see the menu changes (pre­ferred method). Using these var­i­ous cus­tomiza­tion fea­tures, you can cre­ate a Site­Cat­a­lyst menu struc­ture that is more user-friendly and tai­lored to your spe­cific organization.

Add cus­tom reports to your Site­Cat­a­lyst menu

Cus­tom reports are another impor­tant tool in your Site­Cat­a­lyst menu cus­tomiza­tion efforts. If you’ve ever needed spe­cific met­rics or fil­ters for cer­tain reports, cus­tom reports allow you to save pre-configured reports for ongo­ing usage. For exam­ple, you might need to cre­ate a report for your men’s apparel cat­e­gory man­ager, which fil­ters out data that doesn’t per­tain to men’s prod­ucts. In another exam­ple, you might have a “fol­lower” met­ric, which only makes sense within a spe­cific social media report. You might add this fol­lower met­ric to the social media report and cre­ate a cus­tom report so that it always appears in the right context.

As shown above, once you’ve con­fig­ured a default report to your lik­ing (e.g., edit­ing met­rics, fil­ters, data ranges, graph types, sub­re­la­tions, and other report options), you sim­ply click on the “Cus­tom Report” but­ton (below the default report name) and give the cus­tom report a unique name. The new cus­tom report will appear in the default Cus­tom Reports folder at the bot­tom of a stan­dard Site­Cat­a­lyst menu.

Cus­tom reports can be lever­aged in a vari­ety of ways to fur­ther aug­ment your Site­Cat­a­lyst menu cus­tomiza­tion efforts:

  1. Replace a default report: You can make a sim­ple tweak to a default report (e.g., change the Rev­enue met­ric) and cre­ate a slightly-altered cus­tom report, which you can then sub­sti­tute for the orig­i­nal report in the menu structure.
  2. Add a default cal­cu­lated met­ric: Using the default met­ric set­ting, you can change the default met­rics for all reports. How­ever, you can’t assign a cal­cu­lated met­ric as a default. With a cus­tom report, you can add cal­cu­lated met­rics as default met­rics (e.g., bounce rate, con­ver­sion rate, etc.).
  3. Make mul­ti­ple copies of a default report: You may want to have mul­ti­ple instances of the same report in dif­fer­ent fold­ers. You can’t make dupli­cate copies of default Site­Cat­a­lyst reports, but can make mul­ti­ple copies of a cus­tom report.
  4. Cre­ate highly cus­tomized reports: Using cus­tom reports, you can com­pletely rebuild your Site­Cat­a­lyst menu with a col­lec­tion of highly cus­tomized reports, which more closely serve the unique report­ing needs of your var­i­ous user groups.

You now have two key build­ing blocks for cre­at­ing more user-friendly Site­Cat­a­lyst menus. You can recon­fig­ure the default menu struc­ture in what­ever man­ner will work best for your com­pany and its end users. For many com­pa­nies this may mean dra­mat­i­cally sim­pli­fy­ing and stream­lin­ing the out-of-the-box menu options in Site­Cat­a­lyst. For other orga­ni­za­tions, it may mean com­ple­ment­ing and enhanc­ing the exist­ing reports with addi­tional cus­tomized reports.

In one exam­ple, one of our con­sul­tants worked with a car man­u­fac­turer on their Site­Cat­a­lyst menu lay­out and designed it so that it guides users through an ana­lyt­i­cal process:

  1. Estab­lish how much traf­fic volume.
  2. Look at where that traf­fic came from.
  3. Deter­mine the onsite behav­iors of those people.
  4. Inves­ti­gate how the behav­iors relate to key con­ver­sions and goals.

This is just one of many dif­fer­ent lay­out approaches that are pos­si­ble with menu cus­tomiza­tion. Just like you choose what goes into your favorite sand­wich at the local deli, your orga­ni­za­tion has the abil­ity to choose what goes into its own menu struc­ture. At Adobe, we love choice. :)

DISCLAIMER: Before you dive head­first into rework­ing your company’s Site­Cat­a­lyst menus, I would encour­age you to hit the pause but­ton until you’ve read the next part of this two-part arti­cle series, where I will share some key con­sid­er­a­tions, best prac­tices, and poten­tial lim­i­ta­tions related to menu customization.