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We’ve reviewed a number of web usage analysis services including ClickTale, RobotReplay and CrazyEgg. We’ve also written about an analysis service named TapeFailure which was closed over a year ago. This week TapeFailure founder Joshua Gross has launched his new web analysis service named Vistrac which is a complete rewrite of TapeFailure plus more functionality and analysis.
Joshua notes, “This service (Vistrac) will analyze everything from where users click, to where they pay attention when scrolling. It takes the concept of sites like UserFly one step further and breaks down the data for you.”
The features page is worth a look for detailed info on what Vistrac provides. There are reports on browser type, OS, screen resolution and browser size. I’ve never seen browser size on a report before but it’s pretty interesting – this is where a user is using their browser at a size other than fullscreen. Other reports include link tracking, heat maps, scroll metrics and form metrics. For a startup, form analysis can mean more signups and more paying customers.
There’s also a Superfunnel report which provides a map for each user and how they navigate through your website or application.
Vistrac pricing ranges from free to $149/month for a corporate plan. Most of the web analysis services offer a free trial. My suggestion is to give each of them a try on the same website, compare the results and move forward with the services you find beneficial.
Session-recording tool RobotReplay has announced that the service has been acquired by ForeSee Results. Rob Lewis at TechVibes picked up on the acquisition yesterday. RobotReplay was developed and maintained by Nitobi. Financial terms of the acquisition were not provided.
Nitobi noted in the release, “ForeSee Results acquired RobotReplay last fall and developed the technology to integrate into its existing platform.” Interesting that it took half-a-year to announce the acquisition. ForSee Results also announced the launch of a new product, CS SessionReplay, which they describe as, “a new tool that records what selected site visitors are seeing and doing on a website in a real-time movie format, including recording a user’s mouse clicks and movements, page scrolling, form entry, and all interactivity with a website.”
Session recording tools are very important for website analysis and for understanding usage patterns. For ecommerce sites, they can provide a view into why customers might not be ordering or moving through the process as was developed. Another tool in the session-recording space we’ve covered several times is ClickTale.
Update: Dave Johnson from RR replied to my question on Mashable (but not here, hmm!) about whether the pages are saved. It appears they are not saved currently. I would suggest they make that very clear on the home page and signup page. Otherwise, most of these tests would be invalid. I am ok with getting the product out but you must let the customers know where the product is currently so there are no unexpected items that popup. Here is Dave's reply: Hey Allen, we are currently not saving the page with the session but we will be doing something like that in the near future to avoid the problem with page changes. We are just getting our feet wet with this now and will be rapidly improving the service.
This past week was a big one for "recorders". TapeFailure came out first, followed by ClickTale, now we have RobotReplay. In speaking with the PR person for RobotReplay, the big difference is that the recorded sessions on RR are in Ajax and Javscript not flash based videos. So you watch the session using the live site similar to the way CrazyEgg works for heatmaps. They claim this reduces overhead and the need to create and store movies. I only wonder what happens if you change your site minute by minute – how does it store the pages to make sure you are always viewing the right session with the right page.
Here are a couple quotes from their official press release:
"For web developers, designers and community managers, it's hard to be effective if you have to guess at how visitors are using your site," said Andre Charland, Nitobi co-founder. "Instead of putting a group of target users in a room and watching them navigate a site, website publishers can use RobotReplay to test users in their 'natural environment', as though you're looking over their shoulder. You can find out where they get bored or give up and then adjust your website accordingly."
"Imagine being able to sit next to your customers as they used your app. The feedback is second to none. It's like being Big Brother, but for good!" said Chris Messina, designer, user experience specialist and co-founder of Internet consultancy Citizen Agency.
Maybe Chris has not played with the other tools as well or perhaps they just asked him for a quote on this app.
These new tools are really increasing the potential for initial testing. And as I typically note with all of these tools, they are not a 1-1 replacement for actual testing but can provide the initial rounds at a better price and much quicker than using any lab. I am excited to see where all of these tools move to as each one tries to get a leg up on the next. Where were these tools for the Clinique International site of 1996! :)