Friday, April 18, 2008

WASP: Listening to VOC

One of the challenge with a R&D project like WASP and listening to the Voice of Customer is the number of ideas that comes in and how to sort through them while keeping a vision. Every week I get great feedback, suggestions and comments. Of course, sometimes people will send in a few critics, but that's part of the game isn't it?

Please allow me to share some of those ideas and what I intend to do with them.

Browser extension: yes

From the start I envisioned WASP as a browser extension. In my opinion, it doesn't only makes it very easy to constantly be "in context" of a real user session but it also allows for easy ad hoc testing of transactions, secured areas and development environments.

Actually WASP is only available as a Firefox extension, but you can expect an Internet Explorer one in the future.

Site crawling: yes

I've been running a quick poll for a while and that was one of the question. 43% of those who answered asked for the possibility to crawl a site and report on the tags and implementation.

That's coming up in WASP v0.40, currently awaiting approval from the Mozilla Foundation.
  1. "Crawl from here" recursively spider a site
  2. "Load from file" allows you to pick a file containing a list of URLs to check

Reporting: yes

As you browse (or crawl), WASP creates a session log. The resulting CSV report contains the URL, the type and name of the solutions found on any given page, the page title, the exact tags and some other information. This report is available anytime from the "Save log" feature.

Web service or hosted solution: not for now

I'm not planning to create a remote crawling or web service solution for WASP, at least not for v1.0. There are some solutions like that will allow you to test remotely and simulate different browser/OS environments. Or the great Firefox extension from that allows you to build a test script that you can run automatically (and WASP will record correctly). More advanced tools like HP's LoadRunner or MS Visual Studio Team System Test Edition brings the full range of load testing, unit testing and the tools to manage the QA process and track bugs.

Transaction simulation: not for now

Once the site crawling feature is there, why not simply stick in a transaction simulation capability like what DejaClick offers? Two reasons:
  1. there are already great tools to do that and WASP will correctly log the details
  2. WASP is currently quite simple to use, adding such a feature would divert too much from the original intent
Just use the DejaClick extension!

Flash & videos: future

As the industry evolves, tags are appearing more and more in Flash animations and videos. WASP doesn't currently detect those tags but this should come up in a post v1.0 version.

More tools detection: yes

The upcoming version now includes over 100 tag-based solutions in various categories: analytics, testing (A/B or multivariate), behavioral targeting, surveys, session recorders, click maps, etc. In fact, some sites have so many tools in place that the status bar and the number of tabs in the sidebar is becoming an issue (I will fix that in an upcoming release).

Please continue to send in your feedback when:
  • you know a site as a specific solution in place but WASP doesn't detect it: send me the site URL and the tools that is supposed to be there
  • WASP doesn't detect a tool and it's not in the list of known tools: send me a sample site the URL and the vendor URL

Market research: controlled

As is often the case with R&D projects, one of the unexpected side effect of WASP is the ability to do market research. As per the license agreement and the opt-out option, WASP is sending anonymous information about the domain and the tools found. The initial goal was strictly for debugging and enhancing WASP itself.

In fact, I'm receiving information about 20,000 domains every day, over 350,000 monthly. That provides a pretty good picture of the vendors market shares for various verticals and regions. Of course I can also do specific research from any given list.

This is highly valuable information for market and financial analysts covering the web analytics space, for vendors and agencies looking for prospects, or even companies looking at who is using which tools in their specific vertical. For the most part, this is how WASP will be able to survive as a commercially viable product. I'm sure you will understand I will keep a close control over this information and how it is being collected.

If you want more information about WASP market research please contact me.

Send in your feedback and suggestions

Get SatisfactionI have created a customer support collaborative environment to ease the gathering of suggestions and comments using a great new service called Get Satisfaction.

I've got some offers for help, people asking to open source the code (which I won't), even some investment proposals. I still need some time to continue the "incubation" phase and the planning (hey! I've been freelance only since December!).

But I'm listening: if you have any ideas for WASP or any business proposals, don't hesitate to contact me.