Userfly – how much can you learn from a silent movie?

Dec 07, 2009 /  / 2 comments

We’re on a mission to learn about how our website is being used. We’re about to embark on a redesign, resources are tight and time is short so we’ve been using a range to online tools to accelerate the process.

Userfly is a tool that records, stores and replays live website browsing sessions. While we don’t believe it’s anywhere near as useful as a real user test session, the idea did intrigue us.

After a painless sign up, here is the only piece of setup required:

Instructions on how to setup Userfly on your website

Instructions on how to setup Userfly on your website

We installed this on our key landing pages which are the home page and all our product pages. Within minutes, we got our first recording. Cool.

Our first Userfly recording

Our first Userfly recording

This is where it gets interesting. Clicking on the link lets you watch the video. Watch our first recording below and decide for yourself:

Video of our first Userfly recording on Optimal

It almost feels like we’re invading someone’s privacy! It certainly is interesting to see how people browse and what they might be reading or ignoring. Aside from this however, we didn’t really learn anything else. As we have largely a static website, we didn’t really get much from this. Subsequent recordings helped us understand how people browse between pages but we didn’t discover anything new.

Given the speed of the setup and result, the payback is pretty good. It’s hard to deduce anything conclusive about the recordings however. If we can get it working inside the Optimal Workshop application itself – now that would be a different proposition!

  • Sam Ng is one of Optimal Workshop's founders.

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  • Ole Gregersen
    Dec 31, 2010 - 01:16 am

    I agree. I have several hundred recordings and most of them are useless. Then once in a while something interesting shows up, but nothing I could imagine myself. REsult: I don’t really look anymore.

    And: The tool is quite “young” it really needs some more work (as of october 2010). If you have 100s of movies the tools for sorting, labelling, deletiong and such are cra*p. Which makes it very tedious (however that is spelled).

    I’m not convinced, my time seems used more valuable in other online tools.

    /Ole Gregersen
    Usability specialist, FDM travel