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Complete Web Monitoring

Cover of Complete Web Monitoring by Alistair Croll... Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
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Individual Visits: Replay

We’ve looked at three kinds of analysis that can show whether your design assumptions are valid or wrong in the aggregate. There’s another way to understand your visitors better: by watching them individually. Using either JavaScript or an inline device, you can record every page of a visit, then review what happened.

Replaying an individual visit can be informative, but it can also be a huge distraction. Before you look at a visit, you should have a particular question in mind, such as, “Why did the visitor act this way?” or “How did the visitor navigate the UI?”

Without a question in mind, watching visitors is just voyeurism. With the right question, and the ability to segment and search through visits, capturing entire visits and replaying pages as visitors interacted with them can be invaluable.

Stalking Efficiently: What You Replay Depends on the Problem You’re Solving

Every replay of a visit should start with a question. Some important ones that replay can answer include:

Are my designs working for real visitors?

This is perhaps the most basic reason for replaying a visit—to verify or disprove design decisions you’ve made. It’s an extension of the usability testing done before a launch.

Why aren’t conversions as good as they should be?

By watching visitors who abandon a conversion process, you can see what it was about a particular step in the process that created problems.

Why is this visitor having issues?

If you’re trying to support a visitor through a helpdesk ...

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