We live in a data-driven world, where data = insight = knowledge. If you haven't started collecting insights on how your application is being used at run-time, you should start doing it now. You'll be amazed how valuable this data is and how it will improve your development focus. There are numerous analytic services which can collect usage data about your app and most of them are quite easy to implement.

We have short-listed four metrics every developer should monitor, which will help you improve your app and make your users and managers happier. There are many more metrics to keep an eye on (check out the infographic link at the end of this post), but these are the essential ones every developer should keep an eye on habitually.

Run-time Errors, Crashes and Exceptions

This metric will answer the following questions for you:

  1. Does my application crash at run-time?
  2. How often?
  3. How many users are experiencing this problem?
  4. Under what circumstances does the error appear? Is it a bug in my app or something external to my app, such as an OS update?
  5. What operating system [version] does the problem appear under?
  6. What is the stack trace of the error?
  7. Should I fix the problem now and push a new version to my users, or can I do that in vNext?

Telerik Analytics Exception Report

Having this information at your disposal makes it easier to address issues before your users report them, which means less support cases landing on your desk, especially if you are tracking a desktop or web application. If you are collecting insights for a mobile app and if the users see your app crashing, they are gone - they'll just stop using the app and rarely will they give it a second chance. This is why it is important to check these reports daily and address these errors ASAP. Most analytics services offer email notifications for such critical issues, which will allow you to deliver a new, better version of your application - only faster.

Application Bottlenecks

This metric will answer similar questions to the following:

  1. How long does it take for your application to start?
  2. Does a user action take too long to complete?
  3. Is particular functionality, such as "downloading a document' taking too long?
  4. Are there events which execute slower than expected?

Telerik Analytics Timing Report

The answers to these questions will give you insights about your app's performance, including bottlenecks you may be unaware of. This metric is especially valuable after you release a new version of your app.

Feature Usage

This metric will answer the following questions for you:

  1. What features in my app are used daily?
  2. Are there features which nobody uses?
  3. Do my users find all features quickly and easily? Are they going back and forth in the app looking for something?
  4. What features should I focus my development efforts on? Should I lower the development priority for features used less often?

Telerik Analytics Feature Usage Report

This metric will allow you to focus your development efforts on features used daily, and lower the development priority for features used less often. You can even mash this data against the physical location of your users, the device's operating system and the screen resolution to better prioritize your development. As a result, you will have optimized user experience and happier users. In addition, you will know whether your work is reaching users as intended. You should check this metric weekly and before every planning meeting.

Device Environment

This metric will answer the following questions for you:

  1. What OS [version] and/or screen resolution should we focus on?
  2. Is it time to stop supporting legacy operating systems or smaller screen resolutions?
  3. Has the latest version of my app reached my users? How many people are using it?

Telerik Analytics Enviornment Report

This metric will give you insights into the environment your app is used under, incl. number of CPUs, localization settings and more. In addition, you'll know your app's version distribution among your users (how many users are using what version of your application). This data can help you decide whether to drop support for outdated environments or push users to upgrade to your latest app version.

Analytic services usually track the environment your app is used under automatically - all you need to do is add the API key to your app. You should check this metric before every planning meeting.

Choosing the Best Analytic Service for You

If you are still not collecting insights about your application, you should definitely consider instrumenting your application. Here are some tips to get you started.

Not all analytic services are created equal. Most usually target marketing managers and do not provide much developer information. As a result, some services may not be able to provide you with the data described in this post. Make sure to check whether the service you are looking into using supports the developer-centric metrics mentioned above.

Analytic services can monitor either web apps or mobile apps (but rarely both). Some services are also able to monitor desktop, C/C++ and COM applications. If you want to monitor web, mobile, desktop and/or handheld device apps, or prefer to keep your analytics tools to a minimum, choose a service which supports all platforms that you target. This way you will have a single familiar API to work with, as well as a single place to review your data in.

If you are exclusively into mobile development, or plan to do such, choose a vendor which offers more than just an analytics service, such as testing and/or backend services. Chances are that this vendor will provide you with more data about your app than other siloed solutions.

If you are developing apps for internal company use and prefer to store the collected data on premise, look for a service which offers on-premise deployment.

About Telerik Analytics

Telerik Analytics is a run-time analytic service, which supports more than 15 platforms for monitoring web, mobile and desktop applications, including apps built for handheld devices. It is a service which exclusively targets developers and program/IT managers. It can answer all questions in this post. For more info, visit www.telerik.com/analytics

Try Telerik Analytics

Want to learn more about making your app a success?

If you want to measure your app's success throughout all stages of the user journey, or want to learn how to improve your application to be more engaging, check out the 26 Essential Metrics for Successful Mobile Apps.

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