March 3, 2003, 12:00 AM

When HTML isn’t enough

500 million Internet users have installed Macromedia Flash, but most analytics tools track only HTML. A new product lets site operators measure the ROI of using the rich content and applications.


Nearly 500 million users have now installed the Macromedia Flash Player across a variety of platforms and devices, according to current estimates, making it a leading source of rich content and applications for web sites including retail sites. Yet many analytics tools measure customer behavior only in terms of HTML. Analytics firm Vividence Inc. has launched a new analytic tool, an extension of its existing XMS and Vividence eXpress products, that measures customer behavior and interactions with Macromedia Flash applications.

Traditional web tracking tools don’t generally offer a detailed understanding of how users interact with Macromedia Flash or indicate why they might abandon, become frustrated with, or linger on a site. The new Vividence tool provides insight into key behaviors such as rollovers, clicks, or any other Macromedia Flash action, within the context of user goals.

It also will provide qualitative feedback to probe into user actions as well as the motivations and expectations behind them. The data are gathered via a user panel established by Vividence that works through a series of online tasks at a client’s web site that Vividence works with each client to design. As test users work through the tasks, they’re prompted for further information and explanation of why they’ve followed the chosen path, via pop-up questions following each click that are delivered through a browser plug-in. Vividence Customer Scope software tools the customer data into reports that support recommendations on actions for clients

“Macromedia Flash is an integral part of the online user experience today,” says Carol Linburn, senior product manger, Macromedia. “While measuring HTML interactions alone might have been sufficient in the past, today that approach paints only half the picture. By working with Vividence, companies can see the real ROI benefits of using Macromedia Flash for responsive user interfaces.”


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