Whether you are in the midst of green-field application development or are hoping to gain better insight into the usage of an existing application – by using application analytics you can obtain the information necessary to make prudent decisions as to where to invest your hard-earned software development dollars and time.
Users of your application are the typical sounding board for application improvement recommendations as well as problem reports. Unfortunately prioritizing enhancements and fixes based on he or she whom yells the loudest may not be the best approach. Instrumenting your application with analytics can give you much needed insight to discover the features your users use the most while at the same time providing you detailed information regarding any exceptions being encountered within your application.
A couple enhancement requests for Application A have been received by the development team. User X would like some usability enhancements to the Open Report dialog and User Y would like enhancements done to the Options dialog. Each enhancement is estimated at approximately the same amount of effort. The only downside to implementing these requests is that there is only room in the upcoming sprint to implement just one. How do you go about deciding which enhancement to implement? Luckily the application has been instrumented, so we can have a clear picture on what aspects of the application are used the most.
From this Feature Usage graph, we can see the most selected item from our main menu is the one that is used to display the Open Report dialog – 35% of the overall main menu activity is users clicking on this specific menu item. Only 16% of activity on the main menu revolves around accessing the Options dialog. With this information it is easy to conclude that our time is better spent by implementing the usability enhancements on the Open Report dialog.
Some users are more vocal than others. There are cases when users will report problems with an application, and there are times when they will keep quiet. Relying on user feedback is not the most reliable approach to finding issues in your application or application integrations. By using analytics, you can get a real-time log of exceptions occurring in your application without ever having a user contact you with a problem. You can also avoid stressing your user by having them attempt to explain the steps they used to recreate their issue as you will already have great exception information captured by the analytics instrumentation. As with the enhancement request scenario, you can also prioritize the development work of fixing problems by evaluating the number of occurrences of each exception.
Applying analytics to your applications can go a long way to saving your organization time and money. Concentrate on features and bug fixes that affect your users the most and at the same time deliver more value to your organization by making informed choices. You can also observe the analytics of feature usage and gain the satisfaction that users are using the features and are successful with the application you’ve developed.
There’s no need to wait, get started with application analytics today by visiting the Telerik Eqatec Analytics website and instrument your first application free for up to 100 users.
Carey Payette is a Developer Advocate. You can follow Carey on Twitter @careypayette or read her personal blog at www.codingbandit.com.
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