Continuing my Mozilla Test Pilot tabs data analysis informed by some official work…. I’ve started to work with time and the event sequencing of tab usage. This involved significant data transformations, see below.
Timing & Event Sequences
Here’s a look at what happens *after* a page loads in a firefox tab:
~83% of the time another page is loaded with an average view time of 6 seconds. Opening a new tab makes that view time shorter. Closing a window is a much more deliberative action than closing a tab, averaging ~60 seconds
Timing & Sessions
An early study of Netscape 1.0 browser files determined that browsing episodes tend to fall within 20 minutes. This finding seems to hold true today as indicated by the graph inflection point and has technical bearing on in-memory cookie retention.
The graph is a zoom on the 80% of sessions under 90 minutes. We see 75% of session fall within half an hour. There’s a definite research opportunity to explore overall versus site versus task session durations, though this data can only inform on site and overall duration.
Getting to the Nitty Gritty
At some point in a complex data analysis it becomes useful to go down to the individual data and make sure you understand what’s happening. Here’s a view of a single user engaged in a very length 4 hour browsing session.
The table shows how this user compares to the average in terms of the frequency of top sequences. This user browses a bit more aggressively than the average user, loading more pages per tab. He or she also is more likely to load a new page when a switching to a tab. On the right is a visualization (click for all 4000px in height via image or view html) of the sequencing of these actions. Each column represents an open tab and the colored cell is the tab of current activity. Height increases beyond 20 seconds to a maximum of about 8 minutes in this viz.
|Event1||Event2||All Users||This User|
|load tab||load tab||48.4%||57.2%|
|switch tab||load tab||14.5%||20.7%|
|open tab||switch tab||8.9%||9.3%|
|switch tab||close tab||6.5%||4.6%|
|load tab||close tab||4.7%||3.4%|
|load tab||switch tab||3%||0.2%|
|switch tab||load tab||2.2%||1.1%|
It’s interesting that the visualization shows the user working orderly through tabs, largely moving a single tab at a time away from the current focus except when jumping to tab 1. I’m still working to fully understand what different types of transitions communicate around tab closes, open in new tab foreground and background, etc.
Here are a some static HTML views of sessions starting with a “tab addict” who’s carry around over a dozen tabs that don’t get visited in either this short or longer session. On the other hand, here’s an example of a quick 5 minute episode in which the user revisits all of his open tabs
There is a generic Vanilla 30% data table (vanilla30) and a table prepped for session grouping and self-joins for chaining (vanilla30seq). The live session visualizer and data-browser is not quite ready for sharing. I’ve also imported the TreeStyle data set.