Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Ajax monitoring for usability and monitoring

Category: Usability

Eric Pascarello had a recent post on using Ajax for monitoring user actions for automatic error logging/capturing. Basically he is turning the tables on the common misconception that ajax can be used for evil “user spying” by instead using ajax to log all the users actions throughout the page for testing and fault detection. He is developing a tool to grab all user input, log it, and then potentially play it back later to see exactly where errors happen. This could hopefully remove the dreaded user complaint of “I don’t remember what I was doing, the app just crashed on me”.

This could have greater potential as a poor-man’s usability lab. If you can playback the users interaction with the page, you can watch exactly where and what they are clicking on and where your app works and where it doesn’t. The tool for this kind of thing won’t be simple to develop, but it could be very helpful testing and monitoring ajax apps.

Posted by Rob Sanheim at 8:54 pm
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I have been thinking about attaching some Ajax snooping tools to forms… anytime a form control is updated or changed, it records it. This way we can see how far users get into a form before they leave, or what data they enter that may cause a form to break. If a user leaves the form before submitting, we can even repopulate the form with whatever they entered before they left.

Comment by Jeremy Sisson — November 3, 2005

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