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 http://www.clicktale.com 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 http://www.cee.hw.ac.uk/HCI/elf/ . There was also the work by Alan Slater that he reported as footsteps on the web http://www.igd.fhg.de/archive/1995_www95/papers/60/footsteps.html . Anyway this set me looking to see if there was any academic work more recently and I came across UsaProxy from University of Munich http://www2006.org/programme/files/xhtml/17/xhtml/fp17-atterer.html – 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.

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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 – google.com/analytics, and Crazy Egg heat maps: http://crazyegg.com/

    tony

    ps i think you have a typo in the url – http://www.clicktale.com

  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!)

    Patrick.


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