How do I analyze user sessions?

A user session (i.e., a user visit) covers any interaction between an individual user’s browser and your applications. A user session includes at least one user action.

While analysis of the sessions of user groups and related cohorts based on aggregate monitoring results and calculated performance averages can be useful in some situations, such analysis is often incomplete. Individual users behave in unexpected ways, perform different tasks with different goals in mind, and reside in different geographic regions using different combinations of devices and browsers.

Effective user-session segmentation is the key to understanding how individual users who share common characteristics experience your application. Dynatrace supports user-session segmentation through a powerful filtering mechanism. Dynatrace user session analysis enables you to slice, dice, and combine your application’s user sessions into meaningful segments based on shared characteristics of individual user sessions (e.g., OS, browser type, location, or user tag). For example, you might segment your analysis based on browser type (desktop browser, mobile browser, or synthetic browser). In this way, you can drill deeply into aggregate results to discover meaningful insights into performance problems that may only be experienced by a small subset of your users.

User session segmentation

To analyze user sessions

Select User sessions from the navigation menu.

Click in the text field at the top of the page (see 1 in the example below) and select one of the available filtering attributes. Once you select an attribute, the available values for that filter are displayed in a drop list. Select the attribute value you’re interested in. Some attributes provide text fields into which you can type specific values.

Repeat this process for as many attributes as you are interested in. Once you’ve defined your filter, click somewhere outside the text box.

Select a user session attribute around which you want to have the results charted, for example, location, JavaScript error count, or browser type (see 2 in the example below).

The results of your analysis are displayed in a clickable chart (see 3 in the image above). You can click any bar in the chart to focus your analysis on that subset of monitoring results (i.e, a specific increment of time, a specific browser type, or other value).

While the chart displays data for all user sessions that match the defined filter, the top user list (see 4 in the image above) shows data for only the top 100 users (i.e., those users who have initiated the most user sessions). The columns in the top user section are sortable. This enables you to, for example, sort the results based on Avg. session duration to see which users spent the most and least amount of time using your application. To analyze the sessions of a single user, click a username and navigate to that user's overview page.

Note that whenever a filter changes or a specific part on the chart is selected, the top user list is accordingly updated to reflect the top users belonging to the respective segment created through the definition of the specific filter as well as the selection of the corresponding chart section (in case a specific chart section has been clicked). At any time, the defined filter, the chart and the top user list are in absolute alignment.

Note: The Time frame selector (available in the menu bar) enables you to adjust the analysis time frame of your user-session analysis.

Examples

Here are some indicative examples, showing how you can glean insights into your users' behavior through the Dynatrace user session analysis feature.