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What tools and services are available for monitoring user interaction in a running mobile (iOS) app? Is there a way to monitor users taps, time spent in between taps etc?

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closed as not constructive by Benny Skogberg, JonW Mar 11 '13 at 21:02

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Great question, I would like to know myself. Currently I just observe when doing user testing. – jonshariat Apr 28 '11 at 16:43

Since I cannot find a great solution, here is one solution:

  • Use web cams to observe users using your device.
  • Have those users install software that shows the devices screen (alternatively you can have them turn around and use the device, where the camera is over their shoulder)
  • Record Screen capture

These applications are great for the above solution

  1. Silverback:

  2. Pear Note:

For the iPhone there are some apps to record the screen:

or you could purchase these:

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I'm currently experimenting with Mixpanel for browser based mobile apps (js support is req'ed aka "smartphones"); they also have native controls.

You can initiate events with additional app-defined properties: For example UI element X clicked Y = ms after page was displayed in browser. This way you can get more data about what users are doing in your app beyond just basic click tracking.

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If they are web-based apps I'm sure you could rig up Google website optimizer for certain kinds of testing.

However, I feel like quantitative information such as number of taps and delays would not be as valuable as other information obtained from directly observing users and interviewing participants after each experiment.

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Quantitative information could be useful in determining whether elements are generally unused. From this you might decide they are bloat and remove them, or you might decide that you need to make them more useful, or perhaps that they are in the wrong spot. In other words, observing quantitative info can help you find the areas that you might want to focus on. – Ben Durnell Apr 28 '11 at 18:44
I agree with Ben, quantitative data is useful in all the ways he described. What I am looking for is something like Clicktale for native mobile apps. – Ondrej Prostrednik Apr 28 '11 at 19:02
I was not suggesting that quantitative data is useless. But for most problems quantitative data only tells half the story, at best. In your example an element is being overlooked, but quantitative data will rarely tell you why this is happening. Perhaps the user does not understand the label or the element is in the wrong spot, or perhaps the user isn't even interested in it. Users can tell you a lot of things that user actions cannot. Overly-relying on quantitative data will lead to a lot of guess work. – Baa Apr 28 '11 at 19:16
Not to worry, I understand the importance of qualitative research (ex. one on one usability testing). Nevertheless I find that quantitative data can point to certain trends (which need to be further examined using qualitative research). – Ondrej Prostrednik Apr 28 '11 at 20:09

VNC is my go to application for monitoring the screen of almost anything. For whatever platform you are using, search for a VNC server supporting your operating system. Then look for a VNC client for whatever platform you are using to monitor your user (Mac, PC, Linux). You can then use whatever screen recording tool you like to record the screen of the system being used to monitor the user. This minimizes the amount of resources and access you need to the users machine.

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I've seen eye trackers from Tobii and SMI work with mobile phones first-hand.

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You could try an analytics site such as Bango which would highlight Average Session length, average sessions per day and unique users on Mobile Apps with real time analysis.

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