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Summary:

Do you ever want to peek over the shoulder of your web site visitors to see how they move about and navigate? As site owners, we often make assumptions as to how people are getting to particular pages or using particular functionality. Armed with pages and […]

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Do you ever want to peek over the shoulder of your web site visitors to see how they move about and navigate? As site owners, we often make assumptions as to how people are getting to particular pages or using particular functionality. Armed with pages and pages of analytics statistics we focus on what people are viewing or searching for.

Sometimes, though, there is no substitute for just watching how people interact and use your site to really understand your users’ behavior. Usability and testing tool Clixpy hopes to make that possible.

Clixpy is a web tool that tracks and records everything that a visitor does while interacting with your web site. Every scroll, click, text entry and hover is captured in a video for you to view at a later time.

A convenient dashboard displays all of your captured videos.

Clixpy Dashboard

Installation is fairly straightforward. A short piece of JavaScript is provided for you to place into the HTML of your site. The code is tied to your account and is independent of a particular web site, which is nice. This allows you to monitor multiple sites or pool your captures using just one account.

Clixpy captures are purchased in groups. Your first 100 captures cost $5, with discounts being available for larger buys. You maintain a credit pool and each capture just pulls from your available credits.

You do have some control of how and when your captures are taken, though. When turning on captures you are given the opportunity to set some parameters to limit how many or how long they will run. This allows you to target particular times of day or new feature releases.

The Clixpy folks provided me with a pool of credits for review purposes and I doled them out over the course of a couple of days on one of my sites. It really was informative to watch the recordings that Clixpy gathered. Seeing real users clicking around is interesting and challenged some assumptions I had about how people interacted with my site.

Since each capture pulls a credit, I was sort of irritated when I would get single page view recordings. My initial thinking was that these captures wouldn’t tell me much, but I now realize that careful examination of these sessions could help identify issues and offer insight as to how to make my site more “sticky” and reduce its bounce rate.

Clixpy generally works just as advertised but I did run into some issues. For example, a capture should include every page view by a user but I can clearly identify many instances in which the same user session is split among multiple Clixpy captures. As each capture session has a cost, it would be nice to not have them wasted like this. There were also a couple of instances where it seemed that the clicking through of pages didn’t quite match up properly and the timing of the recording was inconsistent.

Also, while not a function of the application or service, one irksome thing I noticed is that you need to register on the site before you are given any information on cost. Clear pricing information should always be provided before any user data is gathered or a sign-up is processed.

I also have some concerns about the privacy implications of Clixpy but, in general, it is just presenting the same type of information gathered by an analytics package in a visual format. Password fields are ignored and other form fields can also be disabled. For long-term usage I would be sure to include information in my own privacy policy alerting users that it is in place. Users can opt out of being tracked by any site using Clixpy by visiting the Clixpy disable page.

Clixpy isn’t a substitute for proper focus group or usability testing but a small investment could provide useful information that can be difficult to gather otherwise. Check out a demo of Clixpy or register for an account to get started.

How do you feel about “spying” on your site visitors with Clixpy?

  1. A couple of other options worth considering are ChartBeat and Woopra.

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    1. Clixpy also works with HTML prototypes made with Justinmind Prototyper (http://www.justinmind.com). The combination of both products is simply amazing!

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  2. [...] out WWD coverage… No TweetBacks yet. (Be the first to Tweet this post) Share and [...]

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  3. Average folks will not like this AT ALL. Burying disclosure in a privacy statement is not enough.

    A pox on clixpy

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  4. [...] Поздравления! http://webworkerdaily.com/2009/05/27/watch-yo…th-clixpy/ в Любими преди 5 секунди edno23.com Начало контакти [...]

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  5. Have a look at Loop11 as well. They run a proper user testing tool. (www.loop11.com)

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  6. I don’t see how this could be considered spying; it’s not like you’re watching someone change their underwear. If they can work out the bugs this could be very valuable. IMO it’s no more spying than ecommerce tools that determine where and how shopping carts get abandoned.

    Clixpy might lay to rest arguments from team members who have conflicting fictional speculations about how people interact with a page. I’ve worked at a place that used usability research and Those Who Will Not Agree simply asserted that the research firm did a poor job and brought in non-representative users. (One guy asserted that we should walk into the room and explain something that the user was being too thick to see.) But it’s hard to argue about the people who DO actually show up on your site.

    On a separate front, I’m SHOCKED to see a clever new gadget that actually has a business model from the outset! Can economic Darwinism actually be setting in during the downturn?? Kudos to whoever had the stones to do THAT!

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  7. @Dave – agreed. This is effectively just providing a more granular visual representation of the typical data found in server logs. You’re not tracking what people are doing outside of your site.

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  8. Well said, Simon.

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  9. Thanks for your comments everyone. I generally tend to agree with your thoughts about this not considered “spying”.

    The privacy concerns I have are more situational depending upon the site where it may be used. The ability to visually capture keystrokes could override or conflict with other security measures or established privacy policies. I think properly disclosing its use is appropriate.

    Thanks for sharing the other choices in this field – I will take a look at them for comparison.

    SB

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  10. I wrote about this… http://is.gd/Ih75

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