It is a common axiom in digital analytics that data and insights are not synonymous. Most canned reports and graphs in any analytics tool on the planet provide interesting data, but require context, interaction, and thought in order to become insightful and ultimately produce outcomes that grow your business. For many analysts, the transformation from data to insight can be a time-consuming and onerous process.
However, great data visualization can help bridge that gap. SaaS-based analytics tools can take advantage of (and in many cases already are taking advantage of) advanced visualization libraries such as D3 (Data-Driven Documents) which allow vendors, including Adobe, to turn those boring bar charts into powerful, interactive experiences that allow you and your colleagues to understand your data in new and exciting ways.
But we need your help. The best of these visualization libraries require modern browser technologies to bring the full value out of your data. We’ve seen adoption of modern browsers increase over the last few years, but we want all our clients to take advantage of the advanced visualizations. Last month, 21.7% of Adobe Analytics users accessed SiteCatalyst using a browser version that does not support scalable vector graphics. That’s a large number for any vendor who wants to provide their customers with a way to get from data to insights to recommendations more quickly and effectively than ever before. This blog post is a result of the insight based on that data point combined with the knowledge of what we want to do.
Nearly 100% of those users cited above are on IE 8 or older; Microsoft began to support the technologies behind these advanced visualizations as of IE 9. Firefox, Chrome, and Safari have been supporting them for years.
At Adobe, we are aggressively looking into these visualization libraries because we see the value they can provide across the breadth of the data you are capturing in Adobe Analytics. And we will move forward with these plans because of this value. However, I want all SiteCatalyst users to be able to take advantage of the full power of these features.
In a future release of Adobe Analytics, if your browser does not support modern visualizations (again, mostly IE 8 and older) you (and/or your users) will see a message inviting you to upgrade IE or choose an alternate browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, etc.). We will even provide links to the download pages for these browsers. Of course, we will continue to improve the experience for all browsers, and you’ll always be able to get your data, but new web technologies require new web browsers, and we hope that as a consumer of data and insights you will choose to upgrade to take full advantage of these visualizations, not just in Adobe Analytics but in a wide variety of current and future digital marketing tools. To be clear, you will want to be on IE 9, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or another modern browser as soon as possible. You can choose one of these browsers from http://updatebrowser.net or one of many similar sites.
We recognize that in some cases, IT departments do not allow browser upgrades or alternative browser usage. Now would be a great time to begin making the case for modern browser support (or at least an exception for users of digital marketing tools like Adobe Analytics). Perhaps this blog post will help your case, because this change is happening. It is worth noting that mobile operating system browsers (Safari for iOS, Chrome for Android, and IE 10 in Windows 8) already support these visualization libraries.
In late September 2012, USA Today prepared to debut a redesign of its site. When a user hit the home page, he or she saw a message stating that “The new USATODAY.com has been optimized for modern browsers,” with a link to a page explaining how to download such a browser. If mass media sites are ready for experiences that require newer browsers, you’d better believe SaaS digital marketing is ready. We hope that you are ready, or will get ready, because the future of insights in Adobe Analytics is really exciting.
P.S.: Just for fun, here’s a little proof-of-concept courtesy of the guy who sits across from me—Nate Ross, one of our visualization engineers.