Menu Item Usage Study: Part II

Christopher Jung

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In the last post, we presented the most and least commonly used menu items. We noted that a problem with analyzing aggregated data is the potential for outliers to skew our results. Today, to identify these outliers, we will move from looking at aggregate counts to examining how these counts are distributed.

The table below presents key statistics on the distribution of clicks for each menu item (mouse only). For example, it shows that the median user clicked “User Bookmark Item” 6 times during the course of the study, or equivalently, 50% of users clicked this menu item 6 times or less. Note: each distribution includes only those users who clicked the menu item at least once (if we included all users, even those that never clicked the menu item, many of the Q1 and median numbers would be 0, and the table would not be as informative).

As expected, many of the most commonly used items are heavily skewed with means much higher than the median. “User Bookmark Item”, “Back”, and “New tab” are three of the most heavily skewed menu items; for instance, the mean of “Back” is 10x the median.

Some outliers are more influential than others. For example, the max observation of “Bookmark this Page” makes up 28% of the total count for this menu item. Accounting for outliers and for the shape of the distribution helps present a more complete picture of the most and least commonly used items.

Now that we’ve discussed basic frequency counts and the distribution of these counts, we can move on to more interesting approaches to our questions. In the next post, we will examine the number of unique commands each user uses and determine whether menu interactions follow the 80/20 rule, where relatively few features account for nearly all the product interactions. In the future we will address the question of how long users spend exploring the menu bar before selecting each particular menu item.

8 responses

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  1. Aqualon wrote on :

    Why are the numbers for close tab so low compared to your previous post, where close tab had the most occurrences?

  2. Christopher Jung wrote on :

    Good catch Aqualon–these statistics are just for mouse interactions (Part I discusses this distinction between mouse and keyboard interactions more in depth). We’ve now clarified this in the post.

  3. Frank wrote on :

    What might be the reason that the back menu item is used so much? Is it keyboard users who don’t know keyboard shortcuts, or is it users that accidentally hide their navigation toolbar and rely on the menu instead? :P

  4. Magazin wrote on ::

    Hi, thank you very much. good job.

  5. njn wrote on :

    Does “(User bookmark item)” include clicks to the bookmarks sidebar? I have the bookmarks sidebar open most of the time and click on it frequently, but I almost never click on the bookmarks menu.

  6. wynn wrote on :

    I have to say the exact same thing as njn. I use the bookmark sidebar extensively and I just cannot think other people would use the bookmark menu. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

  7. Jinghua wrote on :

    Good stuff!

    – “User Bookmark Item”, “Back”, and “New tab” are three of the most heavily skewed menu items:

    How many users actually caused these different tendencies comparing to all participants? Do they have a second common behavior in menu usage?

  8. du hoc uc wrote on ::

    I have the bookmarks sidebar open most of the time and click on it frequently, but I almost never click on the bookmarks menu.

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