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How App Development Teams Should Monitor End User Experience

In order to determine if a Software Dev Team delivers a high-quality app to end users, distinguishing whether a computer network is up or down won’t really help. Therefore, companies are not only looking for time reduction to solve performance issues whenever they occur, but also attempt to prevent such challenges before their key processes are ruined. And thus businesses are shifting more and more from a network-focusing approach to the one where the application performance level is measured by end users.

End user experience generally implies to a few factors regarding an application - whether it’s easy to use, if it’s engaging enough and how relevant its functions are to what the users need. These elements obviously add a lot to the best experiences in various apps and industries, however they are still not always considered in terms of permanent monitoring which tracks the way end users determine performance of an app. And in order to prolong the effect of an excellently developed and delivered application, end user experience should be thought of in a different, more structured way.

Monitoring of end user experience sounds like a pretty simple thing to do, though in reality it’s quite complicated to accomplish. Yet, a few approaches to monitor end user experience are already out there and ready to be implemented by application development teams:

  1. Synthetic Transaction Monitoring (STM)
  2. Real User Monitoring (RUM)
  3. Server-Side Monitoring (SSM)

Synthetic Transaction Monitoring (STM)

STM is an active app monitoring system that helps supervise a procedure based on the concept where end user activities are simulated on a web app. It covers usage of external monitoring agents that perform pre-recorded scripts, while copying behavior of end users with regular time intervals. Such agents are generally quite light and don’t overload network traffic.

STM sends requests throughout network, measures application servers and network infrastructure time of response. It doesn’t require any web traffic, thus can be used for web apps testing purposes at any moment.

But because the process of monitoring is driven by pre-determined transactions, the real end user perception is in fact not monitored. Transactions are “read-only” or else they’d initiate actual buying processes which restricts the use of business-critical transactions.

It’s a good idea to use STM as a reference measurement which will most definitely help determine decrease of performance, track network issues and notify in case there is an error.


Real User Monitoring (RUM)

RUM is a passive approach of monitoring, which includes metrics collection at a browser level to precisely define an app performance according to end users.

The monitoring procedure at the browser is accomplished through inserting JavaScript snippets into an HTML code header and footer of the web app. The code establishes a full page load experience. Additional tools may be utilized for more metrics by adding more of JS code.

RUM relies on traffic to take measurements which is its biggest benefit. So scripting crucial use cases becomes unnecessary and that significantly saves time and resources.

RUM covers every move a user makes around the app – performance data is available no matter what pages they see. Such a feature is very useful for advanced applications with dynamic content and functionality.

Server-Side Monitoring (SSM)

SSM sheds light on end user performance just as well as it’s done at a browser level. It is mostly utilized in combination with monitoring of real user experience, because issues coming from server side may only be effectively spotted with the use of SSM.

SSM covers technology of agent-based tools for data receipt and transfer. This method helps observe transactions of users in real time and fix problems connected with slow work and app bugs.

SSM is also a great help with tracking time of response and output taken by every element of an app which helps IT devs with determining slow web transactions and withdraw performance issues.

The essential DB is monitored most of the time to detect slow DB calls, DB use and general performance of DB.

Choice of an application monitoring approach entirely depends on specific requirements of a company. Nonetheless, a perfect way to watch and keep track of end user experience is active and passive app monitoring methods combined together.

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