Monitoring user actions

July 28, 2006

Andreia Santos one of the researchers on the OpenLearn research strand pointed me at the newly announced ClickTale system for tracking what people do on a website. This certainly sounds a clever idea and could be good for capturing examples of learner use for OpenLearn. As I read about what it did though it reminded me of much earlier work when I was at Heriot-Watt where we used proxies as a way to find out more about the use of web systems – Richard Kirby built some neat tools on this principle, not all fully reported though there is some mention in the reports from the ELF project . There was also the work by Alan Slater that he reported as footsteps on the web . Anyway this set me looking to see if there was any academic work more recently and I came across UsaProxy from University of Munich – again using a proxy but as with ClickTale making use of javascript to capture mouse movements as well as http activity. This proxy is available as a download but would only provide a partial solution as the analysis and presentation is needed and that is where ClickTale sounds strong.


2 Responses to “Monitoring user actions”

  1. Tony Hirst Says:

    A couple of other sites that are useful – and free – in regards to page analytics –, and Crazy Egg heat maps:


    ps i think you have a typo in the url –

  2. Patrick McAndrew Says:

    Hi Tony,
    Thank you very much! This is the second time today that someone has told me about heatmaps – in fact not a coincidence as I have tracked the other mention back to find that it was because they had read your blog. I think that heatmaps give a very good view on what is happening. I guess the crazyegg ones are based on visuallising click throughs – another approach that a PhD student her in IET has used (Jonathan San Diego) is to use the eye-tracking equipment to see where interest lies. I wonder if the two can be combined to see if interest from eye tracking matches to the use of the web page.

    Thanks again for the comment (and I will fix the typo soon!)


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