Statistics can tell you a great deal about your work. How many people use my products? How do they use them? Are there places where people get stuck? What are the features that get the most end-user attention, and therefore require the most development effort to make them flawless? I spend way too much time obsessing over statistics.
With Monday’s launch of the Pebble appstore, I have spent an unusual amount of time pouring over the recent numbers. On the plus side, the APP(ideas) web site recorded its highest number of visitors in its thirteen year history. But one particular statistic caught me a little off-guard—average time spent using TimeLogger.
Before you start getting defensive and thinking that your privacy is being violated, you should know that we don’t (and can’t) know anything (at all) about WHO is using TimeLogger, nor can we track anything related to the data you record. We added Flurry analytics (the same analytics suite used in Angry Birds and about 10,000 other apps) into TimeLogger, primarily to find bugs before they are reported to us and without having to bother our customers to gather information to help us track them down. Even if we technically could gather personal information about our users, why would we want to? We have better things to do with our time. Get over yourself. Just kidding. Seriously, though, the analysis that we gather is invaluable in helping us find problems before they affect our customers. If these tools were available in 2008 and 2009, we wouldn’t have any negative reviews in the App Store.
Here are a few interesting things that our statistics have revealed:
- TimeLogger is number 1! (It has been the number 1 grossing Business app in Botswana, Bulgaria and Estonia.) But seriously, it has been in the top 10 in 26 different countries—a shout out to my kinsmen in Sweden and Norway!
- Users engage TimeLogger nearly twice as often as the average business app on a daily basis.
- The average session in TimeLogger is 26.8 seconds.
It’s that last one that took me by surprise. Most developers want their users to be engaged in their apps for minutes—hours if possible. Can you imagine opening [insert name of latest trendy app featuring flightless birds here] and being done with the app in 26 seconds? That would be a colossal failure!
As I was contemplating what we should be doing to better engage our users, I came to a realization: Given that users open TimeLogger twice as often as their other business apps, combined with the fact that they use it for significantly less time per session, we have proof that TimeLogger is impressively successful.
Think about it. TimeLogger is designed to perform a necessary, but admittedly tedious function. As a productivity tool, the goal is to enable its user to get in, record whatever information is needed, and get back to work (or play). Your productivity tools should not get in your way. They should be there, do their job with as little effort as possible, and then get out of the way. If the average session is just over 26 seconds, it means that people aren’t fumbling around trying to figure it out, and they are getting back to what’s important.
So go ahead, engage TimeLogger. Just don’t do it for long. Get back to work!