We all have experienced errors on any transacting or even non-transacting web sites. As consumers we all find it annoying. And for those of us that are tasked with developing or supporting a site, strive to make the site running smoothly free of errors. But we know, our sites have issues. I have to yet find a site that’s completely error free and if they do, they are not releasing any new code or product.
Now, I understand we can’t be error free but what bothers me the most is most sites I deal with do not know what errorsare occurring on their site. We all have addressed the 404, 500+ issues and those are easy to track. But what about the user experience errors? When does your customer see “Sorry, we can not ship the order in your zip code” or “Please enter 30 characters or less in the name field”.
The answer seems simple, just enable reporting on it, right? But I have seen way too many customers still struggling with this issue. And honestly, I have to yet meet a customer that can furbish a report of all the errors on their site. Some customers buy tools like Tealeaf that goes a long way from where they usually are. They can start reporting on the issues that they are aware of by creating a text “search” or “event”. But what about the errors you don’t even know about?
I know we have several development teams and they are all working on meeting tight deadlines. All developers are working on pushing the code out on time and creating all sort of exception handlers to make sure user can find a way to get out the error loops etc. And it’s hard to justify creating a project just to put all the errors in one single database table and having a call made to the server for each error/exception that we would like to throw. So no one ever prioritizes the “Error” project. But only if they did… and integrated in their web analytics or customer experience analytics tool….they would know exactly what issues are occurring, when, and which issue is causing the most drop off…. Sous like a holy grail….don’t it! What’s the point of doing a fallout analysis, if we could tell what a user saw on the page where there was largest drop off?
With the Rich Internet Applications, tracking of the errors is even more critical. Now most sites have two level of validation – on the user’s browsers and your servers. And with every new technology, sites are going to struggle with new coding standards. And hence, there is no better time to standardize error tracking than the time you are updating your website with new flash/flex applications.