Semphonic has published an interesting whitepaper on web analysis from a functionalist perspective. You can download the white paper here in PDF format. I haven’t had a ton of time to drill through it but I like the concepts and it is a unique approach with some definite value.

Their functionlist approach “breaks up a website into pieces then assigns one or more functions to each piece — then each piece is measured using KPIs. Their are four steps: 1) Classification; 2) Measurement Protocol; 3) Adaptation; 4) Communication. They provide a few examples of some of the KPIs they use with this approach in the whitepaper.

Eric Peterson covers off a similar, though different method in Web Analytics Demystified where you group content by business objective and then leverage these groupings for deeper analysis. Both approaches have their own value.

Like many of these advanced types of analysis, expect to spend some time with an analyst determining which pages fall into which buckets and then doing a bunch of page configuration or report building so that you’re able to capture data points at this level.

For me, something blending functionalist and the Eisenberg’s Persuasive Architecture would be ideal. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up there.

p.s. When I took my initial glance through it I kept being reminded of the book Submit Now: Designing Persuasive Websites by Andrew Chak. He uses a similar concept in explaining effective ways to construct a site and that there are various types of users that you need to support when building sites, making content, etc. If you haven’t read the book, check it out.