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MICROSERVICES: Article

Comparing User Experiences: Web, App and Mobile

How can you measure the user experience across the various channels your customers use to interact with you?

With the establishment of mobile web and native mobile apps, your website isn't the only customer touch point anymore. Mike Austin, Director of e-Commerce at RoomsToGo said it best:

"Our customers expect the same experience throughout all our channels no matter if it is the website, mobile site or the real physical store!"

How can you measure the user experience across the various channels your customers use to interact with you? Let's see what we can do to make the user experience quantifiable so we can make informed data-driven decisions.

If we look at the different channel types, they have all two things in common - a user and actions that the user executes. To make this more visual I put the graphic below together. It depicts a common visit of a user with what their common User Actions might look like across each of the channels (Mobile App, Mobile Web & Desktop Web). Although the screens look different the expectations are always the same.

Visit Journey with User Actions for Mobile App, Mobile Web and Desktop Web: All visitors have the same expectations when booking a vacation, regardless of the channel they choose to use

Why You Should Look at User Actions?
User actions are the important element as it exists on the web as well as on the mobile app. It is therefore something we can compare between the different channels. In the above graphic the second user action is "Search for... " The user expects that the time it takes from the touch/click on the search button till the result list is displayed is similar. This timing is now our first indicator for the User Experience; the User Action Duration. We can now compare the user action duration over all the different channels and can work on getting the experience to the industry best practice "3 second promise".

In addition to the User Action Duration, errors have a huge impact on the user experience. No matter if it is a client-side error like a Crash or JavaScript Error, an error occurring in your datacenter like a "Null Pointer Exception" or a Third Party Service not being available, the impact on the user and your business is huge. Some developers try to disguise the errors by presenting "funny" error screens but the negative impact is still there.

Screenshot of error message in a iOS App that is user facing

The 404 Error Message delivered from Livadaru.net might be funny to look at, but the potential impact on your users is nothing to laugh about! See more funny examples at http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/inspiration/unique-404-error-pages-inspiration/

Looking at the user action duration and the number of errors, we now have two good metrics to quantify the user experience for each user action. But we still have more to investigate to get the overall user experience.

What Additional Information Do We Get by Looking at a Visit?
The collection of experiences across all user actions is what ultimately defines whether the user experience was satisfied, tolerated or frustrated. If we look at a "visit" as a collection of all user actions in the order the user executed them, we can get four very important data points: the first action, the last action, did the visit bounce and if the visit converted. These all help us to identify the User Experience Index. The screenshot below shows us an example of a single visit with every User Action completed. The user started the app, searched for a vacation, tried to book the trip and then the app crashed.

Details of a single visit- showing all actions the user did with a mobile app crash at the end

For more user experience tips, and for further insight, click here for the full article.

More Stories By Klaus Enzenhofer

Klaus Enzenhofer has several years of experience and expertise in the field of Web Performance Optimization and User Experience Management. He works as Technical Strategist in the Center of Excellence Team at dynaTrace Software. In this role he influences the development of the dynaTrace Application Performance Management Solution and the Web Performance Optimization Tool dynaTrace AJAX Edition. He mainly gathered his experience in web and performance by developing and running large-scale web portals at Tiscover GmbH.

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