Basics of Session Recording
Usability Testing

Published on May 14, 2021

Basics of Session Recording

Congrats!  Your website or an app is online. Now you can sit back and wait for customers. You already know that it was just a joke. In order to understand how users interact with the design, it is inevitable to see the design through their eyes.

We are not inspiring you to kidnap your customers, rather try session recordings. This way you unveil the real interaction of users with your product. The result of the session recording is a better understanding of users, balancing strategies, and improvement in sales. Learn more about this powerful tool and how to use it in your company. 

What is session recording?

There are various terms for the same tool such as user replay, playback, or even mouse recording. Doesn’t matter what you call it because it is one of the best tools that provide important information about users’ behavior. It records the actions of users while browsing the website. Everything that users have seen or done is recorded. The programs for session recording are recording every movement of the user, meaning every click, every scroll. You may feel like James Bond, but you still need permission from your users. 

What is so special about session recording? The perspective is important here. Researchers can witness what users are seeing and therefore see the design from the perspective of the user. When conduction session recording, you can directly see how users interact with the product you were working on so hard. 

Session recording is at its core considered qualitative research. You are studying how individuals interact with the environment, with the design. In the results, you will get information about how an individual navigates through a website or an app. This means that there is no place for speculation. Researchers are witnessing the behavior as such. 

However, it can be also seen as quantitative research. As a result, you will get tons of data from users. Your respondents are real users who are interacting with the design, who have personal motivations to use the product. The advantage of UXtweak are session recording filters. It saves you from a huge amount of information. There are many filters which are covering various aspects of features, such as user characteristics, geographical location, devices, activity features.

session recording

How to start session recording? 

Session recording may seem overwhelming. There are simple steps that should be followed. These 5 steps will help you to start your first session recording journey:

1.Step: What is your goal? 

Before starting session recording, you need to set your goals. What is it that you want to find out? When I was working on session recording, my goal was to increase the number of users who read articles on our blog. This was my ultimate goal. 

2.Step: What is your methodology? 

This time I wanted to use session recording to see if users are using specific buttons to get to the blog sections. Session recording is a great tool to find it out. UXtweak also covered the session recording feature. Recording starts with implementing JavaScrip snippets to the website. This way you can record every movement. Each session is a recreation of the user’s behavior on the website. Researchers can also use the possibility to filter sessions with certain parameters. 

3.Step Showtime

Everything is ready and I can begin with collecting data. If I have many users visiting the website, I can set a certain limit. 

4.Step: Analysis

Great, data is collected, so I can start the analysis. UXtweak will tell me where are my visitors from, what browser, OS, or what device are they using. I can also see the performance of top visitors who spend a long time on the website.

5.Step: Evaluation and improvement 

After the recordings are analyzed, the whole team should meet and discuss the results. Based on the result, we also improved the visibility and location of the button that was linking to our blog section. 

What to expect from session recording? 

Now you have a clearer understanding of what session recording is and how it looks like. What exactly it is that we are looking for? Particular actions can be monitored by session recording. To be more concrete, there are 7 items that are recorded:

  • Clicks, scrolls, movement of the mouse

In the case of session recording, it is a mouse movement that is monitored. Each of the mentioned actions is separated by different colors.

  • Forms

Seeing how users interact with the form is sometimes interesting. Rewriting, lots of mouse movements are signalizing issues. 

  • Screen info

Small text? Users are probably changing the size of the screen. Session recording can also record such important detail. 

  • Single Page

Is your app single page? No problem with the session recording tool. 

  • Device

What devices are users using? Desktop, mobile, tablet? 

  • Bio

You can find information about the geographical location of the user, what browser the person is using, what operating system he is using.

  • Inactivity

It may seem like nothing is happening. Silence is important too. What are users doing when they don’t do any of the mentioned actions? Are they struggling with something? 

Do you want to dive deeper into understanding your users? Try other methods that can help unveil how users interact with the design with Unmoderated usability testing. Don’t hesitate and combine more scientific methods to understand motivations or customers.

7 tips on how session recording helps to understand your user

What is the potential of session recording and how can you benefit from it? There are 5 main tips why session recording is the inevitable tool in every project. 

1.Seeing interaction with design 

Being able to see your design from the user’s perspective will give you truly valuable information. You can test whether the button that is supposed to do something is understood by users. Are your plans meeting their needs? See for yourself. 

2.Recognize patterns

Each click indicates the focus of users on items that somehow interest them. Did you find out that the majority of people didn’t use a certain button to get to the contact form? You don’t have to guess how your users are using your product. Test it. Record the session, evaluate data and improve the design. Speculations are counterproductive. 

3.Understanding the behavior of users

Do you know who understands the behavior of customers? Hairdressers, baristas, and mainly UX researchers. Various scientific methods can be used as the next step to understand the complex behavior of users. Understanding users’ needs and wishes help designers to design the product, marketers sell the product, and managers make business plans. 

Extra tip: Conducting UX research is an important step in creating a high-quality product. Here are 5 reasons why you should start thinking about hiring a UX researcher in your team

4.Identification of technical difficulties, bugs

Seeing users interacting with the product can uncover bugs and general issues that users have.  With session recording, you can also identify ambiguous copy, broken links, or grammar mistakes. though you are testing the website or an app before releasing it, some technical problems may appear. Look carefully at users. Are they struggling with a certain task, is a certain action taking a longer time than you expect? Here is an example: today I was trying to buy a bag for my mum. I put it in my shopping bag, and I was about to pay. However, I couldn’t find a button to continue in the next step. This is a huge problem. 

5.Conversion rate optimization

I am sure the conversion rate is discussed quite often in your team. Session replay is giving you the pure opportunity to find why it didn’t come to conversion. What are the obstacles that are users experiencing? Is it CTA, wrong copy, or wrong link? Session recording can identify the issue and therefore help you to improve your CRO. 

6.Improvement of support

Session recording can not only improve conversions but the overall satisfaction of users on the website or in the app. Pop-up with the question: ”Hi, my name is Tim, how can I help you?”, is useless when the user can’t explain the problem. How can you be sure that the problem that Tim explained is the actual problem? Session recording knows the right answer. Improvement of customer support leads to a better experience, high-quality relationships with your users.

7.The direction

As I already mentioned, UX research is the key for all experts in the team. Results from session recordings will help managers, business partners, and other team members to make smart decisions. You have the evidence in your hands. You know what users want and whatnot. Session recording is the basis for smart decisions. 

Session Recording is the beginning

Understanding users’ behavior requires more than just simple observation. When working on design, designers shouldn’t focus on intuition or beauty. Yes, this feature may seem cool, but can a user use it? Do they understand the purpose of it? There is only one way to find out: by testing the design. For a deeper understanding of user’s needs, you should consider a combination of research methods. Try the Session Recording tool and improve your product based on data. 

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