Expanding LogUI: Adding Screen Capturing and a Statistical Analysis Dashboard for Web-Based Experiments

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Abstract

Logging user interactions allows researchers to study user behavior in web applications. The LogUI framework can be used to log user interactions on virtually any web application. This framework misses two vital features, a screen capture feature and a dashboard for statistical data analysis and visualization for use in web-based experiments.Here we have implemented this dashboard and screen capture feature as an addition to LogUI. We cover tools for screen recording and methods to limit bandwidth usage when sending these recordings between client and server. For the dashboard, we worked in cooperation with interactive information retrieval (IIR) researchers working with the open-source collaborative search system SearchX. Using their input, we determined metrics, visuals, and features to be included in the dashboard.
Our results demonstrate that recording a single browser tab as opposed to the entire screen or a browser window is more bandwidth-efficient when sending recordings from client to server. Using the H.264 video format results in much better compression compared to other formats available. A low bitrate setting also results in low bandwidth usage, but this setting should be set with care. The dashboard intends to prevent researchers from having to implement their own scripts for data analysis. Its main focus is comparing aggregations of sessions, but it does allow the analysis of single sessions. Including metrics like dwell time, time between queries, session duration, and event occurrences, as well as visuals like box plots, time series plots, and an event timeline is highly beneficial for IIR researchers using LogUI. Being able to relate logs to their occurrence in a screen recording is also advantageous. In an evaluation session, the researchers were able to complete a series of tasks with little difficulty on average. Some features, like filtering specific sessions, or metrics for the visuals, are not fully comprehensible. However, in its evaluation, five out of five researchers noted that they would use the dashboard in their future research. This shows that the included metrics, visuals, and features have been correctly selected.