October 29, 2004
I attended the School of Statistics seminar yesterday where Sandy Weisberg talked about why none of the existing statistical packages is quite right for a target audience of non-professional statisticians that still need to analyze data on an irregular basis.
It's got me thinking about what that app should look like. He mentioned Excel as probably being the most universal app where everyone would feel at home with the interface. However the problem for data analysis is that Excel doesn't do it.
That leads me to think of SPSS (which he mentioned, but without much detail) and Minitab. These both have a bit of an Excel feel, in that you can see the data in a nice spreadsheet at all times. Their menu systems keep infrequent users from having to recall the names of functions and analysis routines. Maybe some sort of a decision tree to help direct the analysis would be useful. What features are these programs lacking to fill that niche better?
For one, they should have interactive graphics. They need better extensibility. What else?