Tools for Software / Sensor-based Tracking

While planning your experiments (see Hypotheses & Experiments), you may notice that in some cases it might be resource wise simply impossible to get data about how your product or software is used by your customers and users by observation or interviews (n > 20). Or, the sole presence of someone observing could influence user's behavior and reduce the level of reality of your experiment. Therefore, you have to gather data about how your product or software is used automatically by the help of autark sensors or tracking technology. Typical cases are:

  • Tracking user's behavior (e.g. clicks, dwell time) while visiting a website or using a software

  • Tracking conditions (e.g. location, browser, operating system, device) while visiting a website or using a software

  • Tracking user's behavior (e.g. pressure, inclination, acceleration, strain) while using a product

  • Tracking conditions (e.g. location, light, temperature) while using a product

All cases require either a prototype of your product or software or your lean offering to apply tracking technology. Next to defining who is using your product, software or landing page and in which situation, it is essential to discuss in your team which actions or conditions you want to track (see examples on the right). Often, the behavior consists of several distinguished actions.

Tools for Software-based Tracking

We have been using the following tools for software tracking:

Tool

Comment

Google Analytics

Well-known web and app tracking tool and App tracking (Google Analytics for mobile)

MatomoPiwik

Web and app tracking suite with a strong focus on privacy compliance

HotJar

Web and app tracking tool focussing on usability and user experience

Countly

Another tracking tool that also works for desktop applications

Appsee

App tracking tool including e.g. user session recordings, touch heatmaps and crash reports

and much more

This list is far from complete and is just a short summary. Make up your own mind and use a tool which fits your need.

Sometimes the easiest way is to integrate a simple self-programmed tracking mechanism.

Tools for Sensor-based Tracking

We have been using the following tools for sensor-based tracking:

Tool

Comment

Business Design IoT Sensor Kit

Hardware platform that can be fitted with any sensor available on the market to collect and transmit data via WLAN, LTE and Bluetooth, fully integrated into the Project Dashboard for real-time data visualization. 100% tailored to the needs in Business Design projects.

Arduino

Open-source platform with several very good communities for developing simple hardware and software systems (sensors, actuators, WiFi, LoRa, Bluetooth, 4G/LTE) . Nearly unlimited opportunities, but needs some skill in coding.

Communities

Taking advantage of existing communities makes life in Arduino IDE coding al lot easier. Arduino.cc, Adafruit.comMicrocontroller.net (German language), Github.com, Digistump.com and many many more.

Thinger.io

IoT platform to visualize data, browser based.

IFTTT.com

IoT Platform to launch web-based actions based on sensor data.

Tessel.io

Beautifully integrated IoT developer kit to connect up to two sensors per plug-in board. No hardware knowledge is required!

Rysta.io

The "iPhone" for IoT projects for collecting data from a variety of sensors according to the Plug&P(l)ay principle

Relayr.io

Middleware components for the rapid development of IoT solutions

Pinguino

Similar to Arduino with its own IDE development environment

and much more

This list is far from complete and is just a short summary. Make up your own mind and use a tool which fits your need.

Examples

HotJar

HotJar extends traditional web tracking with features that focus on usability and user experience by visualizing user behavior in click heatmaps, move heatmaps, scroll heatmaps as well as mouse, click and touch recordings. Furthermore, it allows to integrate surveys and feedback polls as overlays. 

Matomo / Piwik

Matomo (former Piwik) is a good alternative to the well-known Google Analytics that focusses on privacy compliance. Matomo includes various features like analyzing popular user paths or creating anonymous user profiles (including first visit, last visit, actions per visit, etc.). It supports the tracking of commonly used metrics in web and app environments like: Impressions, unique users, returning rates, clicks, dwell time, entry points, exit points, timestamps, browsers, sessions, operating systems, devices, locations / regions and much more.

Instruction for Coaches

  1. Think about combining automated data gathering with other research tools (e.g. subsequent interviews) to receive feedback from more than one perspective.

  2. Installing (web) tracking technology like Google Analytics is pretty easy. Teams tend to collect as much data as possible without thinking about what they want to learn from it. Take care that they collect data they really need to make decisions and that they plan how to evaluate the data (including thresholds) in advance. 

  3. The setup of tracking with sensors can be time consuming and the evaluation of the data can be tricky. The team needs to be sure that this is still the easiest and most suitable way to get the information.

  4. Don't forget to plan how you acquire your users and how they get your product / software or find your landing page online. This shouldn't happen by accident.

  5. Take care that the team does not violate any privacy law and their tracking is anonymous. A privacy policy is mandatory.

  6. In case your team needs support, our prototyping engineers are familiar with commonly used tools for software and sensor-based tracking and the specific nature of Business Design processes.