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Understanding Emotion for Happy Users

Understanding Emotion for Happy Users

Blog Post: https://tech.bluesmoon.info/2020/11/understanding-emotion-for-happy-users.html

There is little doubt that closely watched metrics tend to improve over time while metrics that are either uninteresting, or hard to collect tend to get ignored, and often get worse.

Web developers and operations professionals have many tools available to understand and improve the overall performance and health of their websites. Tools that tell us how fast our site is, what the bounce, or conversion rate is, whether any links resulted in a 404, and more. All these tools focus on making development more efficient and reducing errors.

When we focus only on improving raw numbers, we forget that there’s a human on the other end who can become frustrated with an overall bad experience and not just the numbers we’re looking at.

In this talk we will look at how to collect, analyse, and act on a few metrics that tell us more about how our user feels when using the site. We can trend how these metrics change over a user’s browsing experience, and we can improve over time the metric that really matters: user happiness.

Some of the metrics we’ll look at are:
* Rage clicks, missed clicks, and dead clicks
* Cursor thrashing
* LD50 (median lethal dose)

We’ll try and correlate these metrics with things that are easy to improve developmentally, like smoothness, jank, visible transitions, and more.

At the end of this talk you will understand which metrics are useful to measure, how to measure them, and how to tie them in to your development goals.


Philip Tellis

November 18, 2020


  1. Understanding Emotion for Happy Users How does your site make

    your users feel? Blog Post: https://tech.bluesmoon.info/2020/11/understanding-emotion-for-happy-users.html
  2. Philip Tellis Principal RUM Distiller @ Akamai Author of the

    OpenSource boomerang RUM library twitter:@bluesmoon ⦿ github:@bluesmoon speakerdeck:@bluesmoon
  3. Performance is Usability Our Journey Today... ★ How is your

    site perceived? ★ How do we measure emotion? with JavaScript ★ Frustration Index
  4. Rage Against The Machine • 36% of Americans with computer

    issues reported that they had screamed, yelled, cursed, or physically assaulted their computers • 40% of Brits reported that they had become physically violent toward their computers • https://youtu.be/Lkei8SYU0bc
  5. Perception How do users feel when using your site?

  6. A 500ms connection speed delay resulted in up to a

    26% increase in peak frustration and up to an 8% decrease in engagement. Tammy Everts – The impact of network speed on emotional engagement
  7. The average rise in mobile users' heart rates caused by

    delayed web pages — equivalent to the anxiety of watching a horror movie alone. Ericsson ConsumerLab neuro research 2015 38%
  8. Perception • Perceptual Dissonance Unexpected outcomes of common actions •

    Survivorship Bias We only measure users who can reach our site. Very slow is better than unreachable. • Negativity Bias Bad experiences must be balanced with more intense good experiences Boston Shipyard Artist’s Community
  9. Acknowledging when you didn’t meet the user’s expectations can alleviate

    negative perceptions. Practice Active Listening https://affect.media.mit.edu/pdfs/02.klein-moon-picard.pdf https://uxdesign.cc/the-fastest-way-to-pinpoint-frustrating-user-experiences-1f8b95bc94aa https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2004.01.002 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1071581904000060?via%3Dihub
  10. Measuring Emotion... How do we measure emotion from JavaScript?

  11. • Ask the user • Affective Computing • Business Metrics

    • Behavioural Metrics • Frustration Index Methods of measuring Emotion (with JavaScript)
  12. Perceived UX Quality By Wikipedia with improved performance Increased Satisfaction

    Analyzing Wikipedia Users’ Perceived Quality Of Experience: A Large-Scale Study — Salutari et al, 2020 https://twitter.com/WikiResearch/status/1241026254058532865 https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Performance_Team/Perceived_Performance
  13. Rage Clicks occur when users rapid-fire click (or tap) on

    your site or app. Rage clicking is the digital equivalent of cursing to release frustration. https://www.fullstory.com/resources/guide-to-understanding-frustrating-user-experiences-online/ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201205/hell-yes-the-7-best-reasons-swearing Rage Clicks
  14. People who are angry are more likely to use the

    mouse in a jerky and sudden, but surprisingly slow fashion. People who feel frustrated, confused or sad are less precise in their mouse movements and move it at different speeds. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/12050481/Websites-could-read-emotions-by-seeing-how-fast-you-move-your-mouse.html https://conversionxl.com/blog/user-frustration/ https://www.academia.edu/3085041/Patterns_of_cursor_movement_for_different_devices Cursor Thrashing/Wild Mouse
  15. Users who are confused or lost on your site may

    hit the back button to get back to a safe anchor point. Backtracking
  16. https://addyosmani.com/blog/usability/ LOADING A WEBPAGE


  18. Temporal Distribution of RAGE The horizontal axis on this chart

    is time as a relative percent of the full page load time. -50 indicates half of the page load time while +50 is 1.5x the page load time. The vertical axis indicates intensity of rage while point radius indicates probability of rage clicks at that time point. The coloured bars indicate 25th to 75th percentile ranges for the particular timer relative to full page load with the line going through indicating the median.
  19. Frustration Index https://www.frustrationindex.com/

  20. Correlating Rage & Frustration

  21. LD 50 The Median Lethal Dose of your page or

    site indicates the point at which 50% of users decide to leave! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_lethal_dose https://www.slideshare.net/buddybrewer/tying-web-performance-data-to-human-behavior
  22. Correlating Frustration & BUSINESS ρ t =-0.49 ρ b =0.65

    LD 50 =22
  23. Patience is also a cultural thing People from different parts

    of the world have a different threshold for frustration. LD 25 Frustration Index
  24. So how fast should our site be? How do we

    set our performance budget?
  25. A final question... Will adding a new feature delight or

    frustrate the user?
  26. Thank You!

  27. References • Computer Rage on Wikipedia • The Psychology of

    Computer Rage • A third of Americans confess to verbal or physical abuse of their computers • Computer Rage affects more than half of Britons • Social and Psychological Influences on Computer User Frustration • The impact of network speed on emotional engagement • Ericsson ConsumerLab neuro research 2015 • Negativity Bias on Wikipedia • The fastest way to pinpoint frustrating user experiences • The 7 best reasons for swearing • Emotional Design • Frustration Index • Page Weight Matters • Improving UX through Front End Performance • Guide to understanding frustrating user experiences online • Toward a more civilized design: studying the effects of computers that apologize • Websites could read emotions by seeing how fast you move your mouse • Your users are frustrated • Patterns of cursor movement for different devices • Wikipedia Paper on User Satisfaction v/s Performance • Strengthening the Link between Site Speed and Business Outcomes • Web page usability matters