Record and Watch Your Web Visitors with RobotReplay

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Nitobi's "web cinelytics" service makes usability testing cheap and easy for web publishers.

Today at Web2Expo, Nitobi Inc. launched an open beta for RobotReplay (http://www.robotreplay.com), a new online service that records and plays back visitor sessions for any website, corporate site or blog. The recorded sessions show how visitors interact with a website -- every mouse movement, keystroke, where users click, how far down the page they scroll and how long they stay on a site. The results can dramatically impact how website owners organize their site content in an attempt to improve usability and keep visitors engaged.

“For web developers, designers and community managers, it's hard to be effective if you have to guess at how visitors are using your site,” said Andre Charland, Nitobi co-founder. “Instead of putting a group of target users in a room and watching them navigate a site, website publishers can use RobotReplay to test users in their 'natural environment', as though you're looking over their shoulder. You can find out where they get bored or give up and then adjust your website accordingly.”

“Imagine being able to sit next to your customers as they used your app. The feedback is second to none. It's like being Big Brother, but for good!” said Chris Messina, designer, user experience specialist and co-founder of Internet consultancy Citizen Agency.

“The great thing about RobotReplay is that it gives me a glance into how users' eyes are viewing my site,” said technology blogger Ryan Stewart. “I can follow their 'eyes' by tracking where their mouse goes. I can see if they pause when they move over my advertising, how much time they spend reading specific articles, and whether or not they visit the blogs of people commenting on my site. In the short time I've been using it, it has become an invaluable resource and already caused me to make changes in how I lay things out.”

Nitobi calls this emerging technology 'web cinelytics' because the movie-style playback helps compliment the numbers generated by web analytics tools like Google Analytics, StatCounter or ClickTracks. In addition to playing back web sessions, RobotReplay filters data and provides reports that help users determine which sessions to watch and how to draw conclusions from the recorded data.

Unlike competing products, RobotReplay enables users to watch visitor sessions on their live site, instead of in movies. This strategy significantly reduces the processing and storage overhead involved in rendering each visit as a movie, and means that RobotReplay can capture every single visitor session.

Nitobi is best known for its Ajax component suite for web applications called Complete UI. Although RobotReplay strays somewhat from Nitobi's flagship products, it supports the company's mission to build better user experiences on the web. “We knew there had to be a cheaper and faster way to improve websites than traditional usability testing. We think RobotReplay is it,” said Charland.

To use RobotReplay, just add a snippet of Java code to any website. Sign up for the free, open beta for RobotReplay at http://www.robotreplay.com. For more information about Nitobi Inc., visit http://www.nitobi.com.

About Nitobi

Nitobi Inc. has been creating web-based software components and enterprise solutions for customers around the globe since 1997. Nitobi's customers include Bank of America, Time Warner, KBR and NASA. Nitobi is an active member of the OpenAJAX Alliance and has recently completed a book on Ajax titled, "Enterprise Ajax" that will be published in 2007 by Prentice Hall PTR. http://www.nitobi.com

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Julie Szabo
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