Jan 19 2011
All web site owners have one thing in common. They like to know what their users are up to. They enjoy finding out how many people visited their site on a given day, what pages they went to, how long they were there, and when they left. Some of us like to see where in the world they’re located, what browser they used, their screen size, operating system, along with what site they were on previously.
There are many free analytics tools to track this data. The most prominent of these is Google Analytics. Apparently Google’s the king of web analytics as well as the king of search. But what about desktop applications? Although many services are moving to online applications there are still many applications that people download and install the old fashion way- locally on their computer. Some of the most popular places to download desktop applications are CNET and Tucows. With desktop applications, developers can only release their products into the world and hope for the best. Their main metrics are limited to the number of downloads and user registrations.
Providing a new integrated solution to track user data from desktop applications is DeskMetrics. DeskMetrics is the Google Analytics of desktop software. Their real time desktop analytics tool can track users, events, and many aspects of the users’ actions and software environment.
Installing DeskMetrics is the stuff of software developers. They provide software that needs to be compiled into your product. Currently C, C++, C# (.NET), and Delphi are supported. Once set up the following information can be tracked.
- Events Features Usage. Here you can find out which features are used most frequently. Perhaps some of them could be turned into a shortcut icon in the toolbar to improve usability. Or maybe you’ll learn they’re taking too many steps to do a simple process. Knowing how your product is being used out in the wild gives you the best insight into how to improve it.
- Geolocating. This tracks where in the world your users are.
- Custom Data Tracking. Since DeskMetrics’ software is integrating into your own, you can track custom data from various forms and have it returned into custom charts and reports.
- Real Time Tracking. Many analytics tools update their results daily. Deskmetrics displays your results in real time so you can view the actions of your users as they’re happening.
- Track Customer loyalty. Knowing how frequently users fire up your application is key to understanding its success. Here Deskmetrics really starts to stand out, as repeated use is the truest measure of a successful product.
- User Environment information. You can track their browser, screen size, OS, what language they commonly use, whether they have Java or .NET installed, amongst other information.
- Bounce rate. Once fired up, how long do your users keep your product loaded.
DeskMetrics comes with a rather attractive freemium model for their service. On the upper end is their premium account which tracks up to 10 applications, 10 million sessions/month, and keeps a three year history. This is a hefty, (but manageable if you have that many products), $669 per month. On the other end of the spectrum is one application, 5,000 sessions/month, keeping track of a 3 month history, for the unbeatable price of free. All the plans are for unlimited users. For the recreational developer who builds a small application on the side it’s an easy way to see what your users are up to.
Desktop application developers have long been faced with the dubious mystery of how their product is being used. They rely on word of mouth, feedback forms, or surveys, to learn how people feel about their products. With DeskMetrics small development teams or large businesses can readily gain the insight they need to track their product’s usage. This can result in a better design, better user experience, and ultimately, increased sales.