Museums and the Web 2005
Interactions: Description
Photo Credits

More than just papers, MW2005 offers a chance for dialogue.

Catching the Flash: Tracking Users through the Black Box of Flash Web Sites

Giuliano Gaia, InvisibleStudio, Italy
Tim Svenonius, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA
Johanna Rogers, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA

Mini-Workshop: Measurement

Many people assume that the drawbacks to websites built in Flash are that they cannot be indexed by search engines and cannot be tracked by traffic logging software. The Interactive Educational Technologies group at SFMOMA has spent the last four years building richly interactive Flash-based sites, but until recently has had little evidence about how (or how much) they are used.

During 2004, we created searchable indexes for a Flash-based site, which has significantly improved the way web users discover the content, and enabled web logging within the site by modifying just a minimal number of elements, dramatically expanding our view into how people use the site. However, the availability of the new logs in addition to the site-wide traffic logs presented us with two discrete bodies of data to analyze, each with its own nuances.

We will demonstrate how a Flash-based site was modified to capture user activity, how we interpret the activity logs, and how the two different pools of data can be reconciled. Finally, we'll discuss how these findings may inform future design and planning.