10 August 2007

User experience and the analysts

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putting people first
by experientia

UX analysts donut
As part of their ongoing research of the UX environment, Rosenfeld Media recently took a closer look at the six major analyst firms (Aberdeen, AMR, Forrester, Gartner, IDC, and Yankee).

They were hoping to determine if the analysts were paying much attention to user experience, so they searched a variety of UX-related terms (21, to be precise) on their respective web sites. They then looked at which firms paid attention to which UX topics and how they compared to the web’s overall UX consciousness.

Which firms paid attention to which UX terms?

  • Aberdeen is focusing on web analytics;
  • AMR pays a great deal of attention to the related areas of content management and knowledge management;
  • Forrester appears relatively strong in areas that are relatively new, such as experience design, interaction design, interface design, SEO, UCD and web analytics;
  • Gartner‘s bread and butter is information management;
  • IDC‘s numbers are, overall, closest to average; if they have a specific focus, it’s content management;
  • Branding seems to dominate Yankee‘s mindspace.

Overall, the top five topics are content management, information management, branding, knowledge management and user experience.

How do these firms compare to the web’s UX consciousness as a whole?

Rosenfeld admits that it’s hard to tell whether the analysts firm really lead the web on certain topics because the numbers are quite small, but there is a clear trend in the topics where analysts trail the web: ergonomics, graphic design, human-computer interaction, search engine optimisation, technical communication, usability engineering and web analytics. Rosenfeld concludes:

“Interestingly these topics, with the exception of SEO and web analytics, all represent fairly established fields. Do analysts forgo these areas as insufficiently innovative? If so, many of these field’s practitioners would surely take issue. Conversely, SEO and web analytics are new fields which are not only considered quite innovative, but have accrued legions of software vendors. Given that the mission of many analysts is to help managers understand new technologies, it’s especially strange that the analysts have not paid more attention to these two newer areas.”

A spreadsheet with the raw data is available upon requests

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