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October 26, 2022 - 6 minutes

The Art of Real User Monitoring: How to Trace a Website's User Interaction Performance

When building something for users, you need to understand how they interact with it...

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UX/UI Design

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For SaaS companies whose website is their business, a good user experience is essential. But how do you monitor and improve it?

The customer experience starts from your brand's monogram and runs through your site navigation, checkout process, and delivery. Real user monitoring isn't just important for the site developers, it's essential to the entire brand.

In this article, we'll go over the art of real user monitoring, and what you need to track and improve your site's interaction performance.

What is real user monitoring?

Real user monitoring, or RUM, is a monitoring system that examines how online users are engaging with a website to analyze consumers' digital experiences. Real user monitoring analyzes everything from page load events, to HTTP requests, to frontend application crashes. It is also referred to as user monitoring, end-user experience monitoring, and digital experience monitoring.

Google Analytics provides high-level information about the digital journey of your users: their origins, the pages they visit, etc. However, it doesn't gather the information required to quickly determine how satisfied they are overall. In this situation, RUM is useful.

It gives you the ability to maintain control over your site's user experience. RUM enables you to map out friction points in a user journey with performance metrics based on a single user or multiple users' journey.

With the help of this performance and user experience data, you can identify where anything went wrong and take steps to correct it so that fewer users are affected.

Components of real user monitoring

A RUM cycle has four major components: capturing data, turning it into real user sessions, automatic problem detection, and individual visit reporting. Let’s go through each component:

1. Capturing

An application monitoring system that uses RUM collects object and page hits from sources like JavaScript within a web browser and server logs. RUM tools record information such as JSON and resource requests.

2. Sessionization

An organized database of individual visits is built up. In "sessionization", the collected data is then divided into sections like pages, page components, and timing and duration information for each visit.

3. Problem detection

An inspection of all items, visits, and pages is performed to look for any issues such as errors, navigational issues, delayed processing times, and other issues with your site’s user experience. All objects, pages, and sessions are examined for any odd behavior such as slow response times, system issues, and anything that looks like a navigational mistake the user shouldn't be making.

4. Individual visit reporting

Individual visits can be recreated and examined by the tech team. Some tools repeat the screens exactly as they appeared on the visitor's device, while others provide a summary of the visit. With this captured data, developers can go deep into the sessions of particular users and see what they're doing as if they were looking over their shoulders.

To determine whether there are any issues with performance across specific browser types or user categories, aggregate data is reviewed by the team regularly. Like many technical meetings, templates for meeting notes will make sure the team covers everything they need to.

Best Practices

Customers won't accept anything less than a quick, dependable experience in today's fast-paced world. Because it only takes a few clicks to visit a competitor, a business that makes its online clients wait for page load times will lose those customers. That's why tools for assessing the performance of websites are crucial.

Identify objectives

Setting clear goals is crucial to the long-term success of any online strategy. Businesses, especially newer ones, frequently fail to see the importance of defining and monitoring precise goals when developing a website.

Whether it's social media analytics or a global parcel tracking service, enterprises can guarantee long-term success by setting measurable KPIs and focusing on improvement there. The tech team can match these goals with overarching business goals by using RUM to pinpoint and monitor metrics related to specific business objectives. For example, RUM can track a real rise in conversion rate in accordance with business objectives.

Enhance mobile testing strategy

Businesses are making significant investments in mobile apps, and this trend necessitates thorough testing of mobile apps across platforms and industries. It typically takes a lot of resources, extensive infrastructure, and experience to test smartphone applications. Mobile testers are employing RUM to increase visibility into the usability of native mobile applications in order to address these issues.

Link performance to business operations

Performance management is based on the idea that a busy worker does not always deliver beneficial or even noticeable results. Traditional training and supervision practices no longer provide the same outcomes as they once did as employment shifts to remote and online platforms. Tech teams' remote performance management metrics are quickly changing their emphasis from efforts to results.

Organizations are making performance management measures that encourage employees to be effective rather than busy. These performance management metrics help to make sure that organizational objectives are achieved consistently and successfully.

Performance management metrics can be tailored to concentrate on the performance of the organization as well as that of a department or team, no matter what web analytics tools you’re using. Productivity tracking techniques are evolving as more businesses move to remote work. 

In making sure that business objectives are satisfied, RUM can be used as a tool to monitor the productivity of tech teams. This is accomplished by contrasting actual measurements with anticipated trends and using RUM as a dashboard to track progress toward achieving business objectives.

Monitor performance of new features

As businesses strive to maintain a strong online presence, website performance monitoring solutions are developing to accommodate the speedy integration and testing of new features.

However, it's not always enough to test out new features in a test environment. RUM can assist in identifying genuine issues experienced by genuine users and spending developer time on those real issues.

Ensure transaction tracing, infrastructure, monitoring, and log management

When a client transaction needs to be examined, transaction tracing gives the IT team a thorough overview of that transaction. Available database calls, function calls, and external calls are among the data that transaction tracing records.

The value of real user monitoring

Any digital platform's security, performance optimization, and troubleshooting are demanding tasks that call for a variety of helpful tools.

In the end, the fundamental tasks for every customer-facing software organization are straightforward: improving performance, eliminating bugs, cutting down on downtime, and making sure consumers have a positive digital experience. RUM allows for the quick and effective identification of faults in code, databases, hardware, transactions, servers, and other areas of the online customer experience.

About the Author

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, a contact center as a service solutions provider for better and easier team collaboration with services like international long-distance calls. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace has also written for other domains such as Whatfix and Polly. Here is her LinkedIn.

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