Tips and Tricks · 3 min read

Expert tip: How to proactively find and fix errors

Justin Owings
Posted February 23, 2017
Expert tip: How to proactively find and fix errors

No more trial and error message—search for sessions where users triggered an error

At Fullstory we strive to make understanding everything about your customer experience as bionic as possible. While we do a lot already (i.e. capturing the entire DOM automatically and making it all searchable), there’s much more that's possible.

To that end, if you're a power user, you might be interested in hearing how to extend the power of Fullstory with some tweaks to your code.

Which of my users saw a specific error during their session?

Whether you want to extend proactive support for your customers or are striving to understand exactly how pervasive a painful experience is, being able to search for when a certain element (in this case a specific error) occurs is a necessary first step.

The way Fullstory currently works, an element isn’t indexed simply by being visible on screen. Because it’s not indexed, it’s not searchable.

Here's the thing: we can work around this limitation by faking a click whenever a specific element appears. Since clicks are indexed by Fullstory, these previously elusive error messages are suddenly searchable. 🙌

Here’s how you set it up.

If you want to start capturing when your customers 'saw' a specific error through faking a click, you need one of your front-end engineers to tweak the code on your site or app:

  1. In the front end code, find the place where you handle the error and display a message to your end user.

  2. Change the code so that when you display the error message, you trigger a click event on that error message element.*

  3. Give the error message element an easy-to-search-for CSS class (e.g. div.someErrorMessage)

Once this is done we can search in Fullstory for “clicks” on the CSS selector div.someErrorMessage and find all the sessions where our customers saw an error.

Hello proactive support!

Now that we’re armed with awareness, we can proactively find and fix errors that customers are finding irritating—just not irritating enough to go through the hassle of reporting them. We can then proactively follow-up with affected customers to let them know we’re on top of improving their experience!

The sky’s the limit.

Surfacing error message visibility is but one application of this trick. How might you use this tip to unlock even more value from Fullstory?

* One way to call up a click would be to use this code: 'document.getElementById('myErrorMessage').click()' Where the myErrorMessage part is whatever css id you put on your error message — what that’s saying is, get the error message in the view, and make the browser artificially click on it. 

Justin OwingsFormer Director, Content

About the author

Justin Owings was previously the Director of Content Marketing at Fullstory.

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