Session Recording: The Full Guide for 2020

Everything you need to know about Session Recording.

Session Recording Guide

Designing an app and using an app is a BIG difference.

When you create an app you are an expert for it.

You know all the features. You probably don’t understand why there are users who can’t find the features that they are looking for.

Session Replay helps you to get an insight into the user’s view on the app, his struggles, problems and issues.

What is Session Recording?

The term “Session Recording” means exactly what it says: it records user behavior in the form of video sessions. It’s a form of in-app analytics that helps you to observe and analyze the use of your app or website.

Session Recording Example
Session Recording Example

This includes every tap, every scroll, every interaction with the app, every user input and screen output.

This way, you can identify and optimize user expectations, behavior patterns, and problems, and ultimately improve conversion rates. Session Recording allows you to analyze aggregated data from user groups and the sessions of every single user.

Session Replay offers the possibility to even view and analyze critical sessions in real-time.

Why is Session Recording important?

Session recording has become an indispensable tool in mobile and web app analysis. Of course, the use of heat maps and KPIs, for example, are important, but nothing can give a more realistic insight into user behavior than “observing” user’s actions.

Session Replay can analyze several aspects of your app, for example:

  • The app has crashed. Session Recording captures what happened in the final moments before the crash. This can give you an idea of where the problem appeared.
  • A mobile analysis tool can record frustration patterns. The analysis of the recording reveals how the user behaved and uncovers the reasons for the frustration.
  • Session Recordings not just record what users do but also where they leave your app. It shows if they have missed an important button or link, if the navigation was well designed or not. These insights help to reduce bounces.
  • The user experience of the shopping cart and the buying process can be improved. Session recording can be used to find out if and how quickly users get through the checkout process and if there are misunderstandings such as hidden buttons.
  • You can use Session Recording as a method of user research to find out if users are behaving as expected

What should you look for in Session Recordings?

If you watch Session Recordings the first time it’s probably the best just to watch a few to get used to it. You’ll quickly recognize problematic elements that require improvement.

Many tools highlight problematic sessions and patterns. Nevertheless, it is good to know where you should focus on getting the most insights out of the sessions.

  • How do you navigate the user through your app? Did he find the intended part through it?
  • Are there any frustration patterns? Does the user tap around frustrated? Which elements lead to this behavior?
  • Are there any static elements which appear clickable? This can make a user frustrated.
  • How long does it take to complete an action? Why does it take longer than expected? Are there any elements or routines you can improve?
  • Where and why do the users leave your app? Have they converted? If not: why?
  • Are there any crashes recorded? Where do they appear and why? How can you improve them?
  • Does the app look and work differently on different devices?
  • Are there any elements missing?

Pros and Cons of Session Recording

Session Recording is a powerful analytics method, but since it has cons, it’s best used in combination with other methods.

Pros:

  • Shows how each individual user uses the app
  • Considers where users have stalled or even left the app
  • Helps to improve the usability
  • Allows to play sessions in real-time to get a personal impression of e.g. waiting times and loading times of the app
  • Creates a better understanding of the user experience
  • Helps to view new pages and functions from a real user perspective
  • Further analysis options such as user flows, touch heat maps and funnel analysis help to analyze an aggregated user group
  • Helps reduce bounce rates

Cons

  • There is no explanation from the user why he is doing certain activities in the app. It is up to you to interpret the user’s interactions.
  • If the analysis tool doesn’t mark conspicuous sessions, it’s hard to figure out which sessions should be connected. (Note: Tools like UXCam will alert you to conspicuous sessions.)
  • Real-time viewing of sessions can cost a lot of time without the guarantee of valuable insights.
  • You must ensure that basic data protection regulations are in place (Note: This is not a problem when choosing the right tool since tools such as UXCam comply with the specified regulations).

Top Tools for Session Recording

There are a lot of options for Session Recording vendors out there. We picked some established market leaders:

UXCam

“Deliver the perfect app experience”

UXCam Session Recording

UXCam is the market leader for mobile app session replay.

Session Recording is not the only feature of UXCam. UXCam’s SDK has a lot more features than just Session Recording. One example is Funnel Analytics which helps you to retrace the user journey.

Another is the dashboard, which gives you the most important quantitative numbers. You can easily integrate UXCam with e.g. quantitative analytics and crash analytics tools to get a full picture of the users’ behavior.

LiveSession

“Discover The Power Of Qualitative Analytics”

LiveSession allows you to replay sessions on your application or website. It helps you to identify pages and elements with bugs and the most popular pages, elements and features in your app. With this knowledge, you are able to improve your most popular features and adjust problematic ones.

SessionCam

“The best websites are optimized with SessionCam”

SessionCam is a software that helps you to analyze your website. The offered Session Recording helps you identify issues and improve user experience. Features like heatmaps, recording of crashes and user monitoring help you to get a complete overview of your users.

Conclusion

Analyzing sessions can give you something that increasingly goes missing in the world of data-driven analytics: Understanding and empathy.

Not only that, but it’s also a great tool to discover hidden usability issues and come up with new hypothesizes.

Analyze 2,500 free UXCam session replays for your mobile app.