Introduction to Session Replay
Google Play, the largest app store in the world, has 2.2 million Android apps while Apple’s App Store has over 2 million apps available for iOS devices. With such a competitive environment, it’s no surprise that only a few of them thrive.
As a developer or product manager, you want to create an app that’s interesting and useful for your customers, but it can be discouraging to learn that less than 0.01% of apps in the market are successful. What differentiates successful from unsuccessful apps? How can you be part of the 0.01%?
These questions have complex answers that vary on a number of factors, but an integral part of an app’s success can be attributed to the ethos of product management: understanding users by measuring and quantifying their experiences within the app.
What makes the 0.01% successful apps different from the rest? "Successful apps understand their users by measuring and quantifying their experiences. Understanding user experience is crucial to an app's success.”
Tools and techniques for app analysis can be categorized into two types of analysis: quantitative and qualitatively. Learn more about qualitative and quantitative analysis here
The “Why” of Session Replay
We are familiar with Quantitative analytics. In brief, Qualitative Analytics represent a given reality in numerical values. It is the most traditional tool for user research and is all about crunching numbers. It helps us understand the usage of the app, trends, funnels, and conversions. Although, while it does an incredible job analyzing these numbers, it fails to accurately portray how users behave and fails to say anything about how users feel.
On the other hand, qualitative analytics, the study of non-measurable data such as brand image and the customers’ feelings, is a complementary approach that provides a better understanding of your user’s experience. Qualitative analysis focuses on motivation, underlying reasons and experiences. By putting yourself in the position of your users, you gain a better understanding of what needs improvement to achieve higher usability.
Session replay is a qualitative analysis tool, and it is the superpower you may have wished for while developing your product. Session replay lets you recreate and replay videos with complete touch interaction of the user’s journey through the interface, letting you place yourself in your user’s shoes and see how they are interacting with your app.
Session replay gives you the ability to understand where users struggle in real-world scenarios. Watch them scroll up, scroll down and tap where they are not meant to tap – and you’ll soon realize the good things and the less user friendly aspects of your app design and functionality: the first step to fix usability issues and achieve richer user experiences.
Other Terms for Session Replay
- Session recording
- User replay
- Digital experience
- Record and replay
- Website video replay
- User experience replay
- Mouse recording tools
When to Record, Replay and Study Users Sessions
Session replay is always useful. It doesn’t matter if you are just launching your app or if you already have a user base. By understanding what users want, you can better develop something users love. If your app is just starting out, you can watch how your first few users are utilizing the app to minimize start up issues. Or, if you already have a large user base, you can gain insight into common problems they are facing that may be making your app less desirable.
Tips on how to use session replay
Now that you understand what session replay is, let’s look at how it can be implemented to ease your current workflow in the next section. The following tips will help you get the most out of Session replay and enable you to easily get quality information from your user’s sessions.
I. Watch the right session.
Filters can help you find exactly what you’re looking for in a fraction of the time. This feature allows you to quickly hone in on the session that interests you so you can more quickly find what you’re looking for. The best thing about filtering is that you can see many types of sessions; you could see daytime or nighttime sessions, short and long sessions, or sessions on a particular device or iOS version. Combine all the selection criteria to find exactly what you are looking for.
II. Adjust Session Replay Speed.
With session replay, you have the power to decide the speed of the video: slow, medium or fast, depending on what you are looking for. You could get a quick glance of the user’s actions with fast speed and then go slow to get a more precise and detailed view of interesting action points. Skip idle periods where they were distracted to save time!
III. Make a List of All the Pages in the Session
Focus on what matters. Breakdown sessions into pages of interests and navigate directly to them. Whether you are interested in the registration page or a specific conversion point, you can save time by targeting the exact pages you need to analyze.
IV. Timestamp Points in Your Session Replay
With timestamp points you can easily comment on a session and share your insight with the rest of your team. Let them quickly jump to the points that matter and see the annotations you left. Use timestamp points to save time and improve communication within your own team!
V. Session Replay & Heatmap: the Perfect Match.
Benefit the most out of session replay by pairing it with its perfect match: Heatmap. Heatmap lets you see how users interact with your app (touch/tap, swipes, pinches, scroll), and allows you to understand how your product is being used. With this tool you can see exactly where people are clicking on your app and learn what section of your page has users most engaged. With both session replay and heatmaps, you can get deep insight into user behavior and develop successful strategies to improve usability. Learn more about Heatmaps here.
VII. Going Beyond Session Replay (Integration Tools):
At UXCam we believe that Quantitative and Qualitative analytics are meant to work together. This is why we integrate the best tools in the market and give you all the tools you need to create a great user experiences. We offer seamless integration with products you already use to extend UXCam capabilities and enhance your current workflow.
Tag crash recording tools like Crashlytics and Apteligent, and quickly see a step-by-step sequence before the crash. Or integrate quantitative tools like Amplitude and Mixpanel to crunch statistics and improve your decision-making process.
Session replay can be a powerful tool to understand users’ behavior, improve onboarding and conversion rates, fix bugs, segment users and develop an overall better user experience. Think of session replay as a feedback tool that gathers what your users experience and enables you to enhance what your app offers. It is not enough to have a good idea or product to be successful, software must be user-friendly and constantly updated. Learn what’s working and what needs improvement with qualitative analysis tools, and develop great apps for your users.