Capture analytics from your prototypes

In this article I’ll share a simple way you can capture data from your user tests. It takes only a few minutes to set up, costs nothing, and can easily be added to every Atomic prototype you or your team are testing.

What’s the big deal with data?

One of the benefits of advanced prototyping is the higher quality feedback you receive during user testing. Free from distractions (like you prompting where to click or what to imagine happens next), test participants can focus on what they’re experiencing right now, providing valuable in-the-moment feedback.

But after the testing is done, it all comes down to the notes you’ve kept.

Remembering who did what and how it worked out, gets harder as time goes by. For this reason many Atomic users record their test sessions by wrapping Atomic’s share links in user-testing platforms like Loop11 and Lookback. These are amazing platforms that work beautifully with Atomic prototypes and enable you to replay test recordings in all their detail later.

With the pattern in this article, you can now also easily create a goldmine of analytics data to incorporate into your review cycle. Data such as time spent completing task, whether an important feature was discovered, and each reviewer’s unique journey through your prototype, is now easy to track.

Send analytics data from Atomic to Google Sheets with a little help from Zapier

All it takes is copying and pasting a few lines of JavaScript into your prototypes to capture analytics events at the moments that matter, then sending that data to a Google Sheet via Zapier.

If you haven’t heard of Zapier, you’re in for some fun. Zapier is a massively popular cloud service for integrating cloud apps. In this case JavaScript in Atomic can send data to Zapier, and Zapier pushes that data into a Google Sheet. There are many other things you can connect Zapier to, this is just one small example. You’ll need a Zapier account to get going, but a free account will do just fine.

Ready to roll?

If you’re ready to jump into getting set up, follow the steps in our analytics tutorial. We’ve provided a copyable sample prototype, all the code snippets you’ll need and even a boilerplate spreadsheet to capture and organise your event data.



Getting started is easy

If you’re not familiar with the jargon of the analytics world, don’t worry, the basics are simple.

Focus on your most important goals

If there are specific interactions, screens/pages, states, or data values that you’re hoping your prototype reviewers will encounter, start by identifying and tracking only those. For example, perhaps a core goal in your prototype is to test whether users discover a new button or page in your prototype, in this case, make sure a tracking event is sent when they do. If you’ve written a test plan, you may have already identified these goals.

Keep your tracking simple

The sample script we provide is yours to hack and modify, but by default, the only thing you need to capture is an event name. Names are typically things like “Clicked Submit”, “Adjusted Date”, “Accepted Terms” or “Skipped Intro Sequence”, but it’s entirely up to you.

Beyond that, you can track details such as where in the prototype the event occured, what category name to group this event into, and any other useful context. We automatically capture timestamps, the name of your reviewer (if we can find it) and more. Just remember: you can keep it simple, or extend it as far as you need.


Exploring your data is easy, too

The boilerplate Google Sheet we provide in our analytics setup guide provides a small taste of the power of sheets by automatically calculating how long reviewers spend reviewing the prototype, and how time spent between each event.

The main reason we made our sample work with Google Sheets is because sheets are so flexible and easy to work with. With your data in Sheets you can build graphs, run calculations and even connect to other cloud tools. You can also share your data with teammates and stakeholder in seconds.

Need more? We’re here

If you’d like a demo of how your team can set up analytics across all your prototypes, get in touch. If you need help getting set up, dive into the analytics setup guide and join us over in our friendly Facebook group.

If you are completely new to Atomic, know that it’s free to use for as long as you need. Explore why Atomic is different, or jump in and get started with advanced prototyping.

Posted 15 March 2018

Advanced interactive design & prototyping.