How to measure user experience in web applications?

In this thread we’ll discuss:

  • what affects user experience on web
  • what are useful reports for measuring user experience
  • how track additional data e.g. frustration factors such as detect rage clicks, dead clicks, mouse shakes etc.

Setup of your web measurement is a process that has to be tailored for specific case. You probably know best what are the most important things that your users do on the website, and which you would like to monitor.

In Piwik PRO there are few types of events that can be used to map your user experience interactions into analytics reports:

  • Custom Events - very useful type of event that can be simply sent to the tracker anytime with any descriptions and will be recorded. Unique thing about this type of event when compared to other ones, is that it contains additional point value placeholder, which allows you to for example track custom timings, which later can be calculated into min/max/avg/sum type of calculations. Overall custom events are used to represent granular interactions that take place during a given page view - this is also why they are hugely useful when tracking Single Page Applications, as they are perfect for representing multiple granular interactions that can be grouped into categories.

  • Goal Conversions - conversion type of event is specific in Piwik PRO because it brings enhanced reporting capabilities. Information about converted goals is available as session level dimension, and goals are also able to carry information about revenue associated with given interaction. Conversions are perfect for tracking crucial interactions that you want to analyse in relation to other session dimensions - for example ratio of interaction presence per session entry URLs.

  • Apart from aforementioned event types, there are also some specific ones: Searches, Downloads, Outlinks, Content Impressions and Interactions and eCommerce transactions events. Each of those allows you to represent different type of user interactons in website or web-based application, as well as mobile applications. Each event has it’s respective API method that you can use in you app to communicate with API directly, but of course some of those have templates available in our Tag Manager.

Having configured the tracking of different events, the actual analysis of user experience using those events takes place in the reports. Great thing about Piwik PRO, is that particular report type don’t impose limitations on which events you can visualise. For example: you can create Funnel that will be based only on custom events, or create a user flow using any types of events.

Depending on character of given interaction, you may want to use different reports and visualisation types:

  • Explorer report is a go to option for beginning plenty of analysis. It allows you to quickly see volume of different interactions using structure based on nested dimensions.

  • User flow - is a very useful type of visualisation but has to be used with lots of awareness. User flow allows you to see aggregated information about most trending paths of use journeys, using visualisation based on subsequent steps that are merged by similarity. The way to think about User Flow is that it is a way tomove around the tree of possible user paths - hence, using User Flow you’re not analysing your data in whole, but rather you are focusing on a chunk, a cut-out of the whole journey. This is why User Flow is best used when focused on some particular interaction that surroundings of you want to observe - e.g. some goal conversion, or a particular event. To make the analysis simple, User Flow has multiple features of Key Interaction, filtering out First/Last interaction in session, filtering out only page views and very importantly ability to analyse events without criterion of them taking place one after another - we call it “Non-strict mode”
    All in all, User Flow is the way to go when you want to analyse organic behaviour of the website users, when you are not specifically foreseeing what you are looking for, but rather want to see “what people are doing in particular place” or “what people are doing before/after doing some particular thing”.

  • Funnel is a report that allows you to visualise effectiveness of sequence of events that you expect people to perform. It will display follow ratios between particular steps of the funnel, which can be based on any earlier tracked events. Each step will also provide you drop off ratio and list of drop off steps that you can analyse. Opposite to User Flow - Funnel is great way to analyse user journeys that you expect people to take.

Apart from ability to base your interaction tracking basing on clicks, scrolls, form submissions and other types of triggers, Piwik PRO Tag Manager allows you to include entirely custom codes for observing various interactions to later track them with Piwik PRO Analytics.
At Piwik PRO we’re often providing such codes for our customers, and we’re also publishing some of them publicly for anyone to use. One of examples is few templates done around user experience quality research - feel free to include them on the page you’re tracking!