The Top 6 Tools for Perfecting Experiences on Websites and Apps in 2021

Liam Burns
Written by Liam Burns
March 17, 2021

Tolerance for poor digital experiences has seemingly reached an all-time low. Whether on websites or apps, customers expect and demand flawless user experiences, or close to it.  

And if you don’t deliver on these heightened expectations? Well, at the first signs of trouble users hold no reservations when it comes to calling it quits and finding another option, as poor online experiences are proven customer-killers:

As the average share of online customer interactions has spiked 22%, perfecting these digital experiences has become a make-or-break factor for nearly every enterprise. Moving forward, the best way to meet expectations lies in consistent and ongoing web and app optimization to ensure a near-perfect digital experience every time.  

But at the enterprise level, consistently effective digital experience optimization often hinges on one crucial factor: your available tools. Make sure you’re prepared to pinpoint and resolve every poor user experience with the following six must-have tools. 

1. Website and app analytics for measuring basic user journey outcomes

Often acting as the first line of defense for digital teams, web and app analytics report the most fundamental outcomes of every user journey. And with 92% of CX-leading enterprises reporting a journey-based approach as a pivotal success factor, so are web and app analytics. 

Popular vendors – like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics – track core metrics like conversions, abandonments, engagements, time on site/screen, repeat visits, app launches, and many more. On top of these baseline metrics, these solutions typically provide basic funnel analysis to better visualize the online journey. 

In the end, web and app analytics report on descriptive data – or the ‘what’ – showing digital teams the specific events unfolding on their digital properties, like users abandoning on a specific landing page or engagement struggles on new content.  

While effectively measuring the ‘what’ surrounding experiences, web and app analytics fail to measure the ‘why’ behind them, which forces teams to rely on complementary forensic and behavioral tools to dig deeper. 

2. Voice of customer (VoC) tools for tracking firsthand customer feedback 

With customer experience front-of-mind for virtually every enterprise brand, it’s only natural that the opinion of customers have become a highly coveted piece of intel – and that’s where VoC tools come into play.  

Voice of customer solutions collect consumer expectations, preferences, and feedback as it relates to customer experience. VoC tools track these sentiments via qualitative gauges like online reviews, various survey response methods, and even social media interactions along with quantitative measures like Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES). 

Allowing you and your team to truly see eye-to-eye with every customer, VoC tools expose underlying events impacting your metrics. For instance, declining NPS – a measure of customer loyalty based on the likelihood of referrals – explains why repeat online orders have begun to fall off and signals an emerging experience issue. 

Although direct insights from your own customers shed light on underperforming areas of your website or app, VoC tools prove more effective if supplemented with more objective data to more accurately measure experience quality and identify new issues. 

3. Heatmaps for analyzing aggregated user journeys and behaviors on the page level

The saying “actions speak louder than words” rings particularly true when it comes to analyzing them online. But with many enterprise websites and apps welcoming millions of monthly users, how can teams efficiently collect and measure these interactions at scale? By using heatmaps

Rated effective by 95% of end-users, heatmaps capture and aggregate every user behavior and interaction in aggregate for any given web page or app screen. And industry-leading heatmap vendors – like Decibel – offer various heatmap types including dot/click, scroll, behavioral, attribution, and hybrid.  

From broken page elements creating hotspots of frustration and confusion to poorly designed pages stunting engagement, colorful heatmap visualization reflect just about every behavioral pattern that arises in the user journey for decisive optimizations. 

Consider heatmaps the perfect tool for starting user experience investigations to uncover common patterns of online friction. But to take investigations further you’ll want a tool that captures data on the session level. 

4. Session replay for investigating user experience issues on the session level

Body language is a tell-tale sign behind how someone feels, and it’s no different when it comes to digital body language. While heatmaps capture and map out millions of these behaviors at once, often times a detailed first-hand look reveals even more – and that’s what you get with session replay.  

In short, session replay offers real anonymized recordings showcasing the behaviors, actions, and journeys that unfold across any given user session. And it’s because of this uniquely insightful ‘over the shoulder’ perspective that 95% practitioners find session replay effective.  

On top of recordings, innovative solutions – including Decibel – automatically surface the most urgent session replays for streamlined investigations without wasting time on less insightful recordings. Teams can instantly playback and analyze sessions tied to experience issues like checkout abandonment or high homepage frustration. 

Turn to session replay for launching granular investigations to uncover insights behind metrics like conversions or CSAT and even those tied to specific heatmap data or crucial online forms. 

5. Form analytics for identifying conversion-killing friction on submission-based pages

A healthy and steady rate of conversion often falls onto one make-or-break factor: online forms. And unfortunately, submission-based pages appear universally dreaded as only 49% of users add details to an online form after viewing it and only 16.5% actually complete it. 

Online forms must be nearly flawless to convert at a high rate, and form analytics offer digital teams their best chance at perfection. Form analytics track and measure the experiences and outcomes on any submission-based page like demo requests pages, checkout pages, promotional landing pages, and any others you may have. 

While tracking the essential data like specific form-based metrics and field-based errors, the most advanced form analytics also integrate with heatmaps and session replays for thorough form experience investigations. And unique to Decibel’s own form analytics, a Form Experience Score (FXS) can prove vital for efficient form optimization as it measures the quality of every experience on these conversion-sensitive pages.  

Although form analytics remain specific to just submission-based pages, it’s an essential tool for any team responsible for managing online forms and optimizing them for conversion.  

6. Digital experience analytics for uncovering hidden experience insights at scale

Millions of user sessions turn into billions of user behaviors and interactions on enterprise websites and apps – and it’s an analytical nightmare for many digital teams. In fact, 1 in every 5 companies report the inability understand online behavior at scale holds their teams back.  

How exactly can enterprises simplify and streamline their investigative optimization efforts? By leveraging digital experience analytics.  

Going beyond surface level data, digital experience analytics quantify the experience quality of websites and apps by measuring every behavior, interaction, and event across every user session. These solutions provide advanced capabilities like experience issue prioritizationjourney analysis visualizationsextensive segmentation, and they often include forensic tools like heatmaps, session replay, and form analytics as well.  

But the most advantageous feature comes in the form of an experience scoring metric – like Decibel’s Digital Experience Score (DXS®) – for rating experience quality on a scale from 1-10. Experience scoring metrics enable easy benchmark for monitoring experience quality and launching optimization efforts as issues arise.   

While web and app analytics, along with VoC and forensic tools provide must-have intel, digital experience analytics integrate with these solutions and fill in crucial knowledge gaps that uncover hidden user experience insights on the largest scale.  

Prioritize the most pressing matters in digital experience with Decibel’s 2021 checklist

There you have it: the most business-critical tools for optimizing experiences on websites and apps.  

From familiar web and app analytics plus VoC tools to innovative forensic tools and digital experience analytics, together these solutions can help digital teams identify and uncover nearly any web or app experience issue sabotaging conversions, sales, and loyalty.  

But it takes more than just the latest innovative tools to deliver perfect digital experiences at the enterprise level, it takes a team with their priorities set straight. However, with the digital experience landscape in flux year-in and year-out, pinpointing the most far-reaching and impactful trends, tech, and tactics can be daunting – until now.

Avoid the smoke and mirrors by downloading The Digital Experience Checklist: 7 Top Priorities for Enterprise Optimization Teams in 2021 to keep your team aligned on the factors that matter most.

Topics: Form Analytics, Heatmaps, Session Replay, User experience
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