Ajax can really change the dynamics of a site with both looks and experience. It’s popping up a lot more often now, and one of the first big names to move to Ajax was Yahoo with their new mail system. I think you could say that it’s becoming the next greatest thing in web development and design.
One of the problems with Ajax is that when determining where a website stands with traffic, web stats rank sites most often on page views. This is a problem because if you’re using Ajax, the page is not required to refresh which then makes the statistics inaccurate.
Our commenting system uses Ajax, and when people leave comments, the page doesn’t refresh. In the end, it means a lower ranking in page views, but the user experience is better. Most metrics companies haven’t really thought about how to handle Ajax, and some sites avoid it all together simply because they’re page-view hungry.
Just yesterday, comScore Media metrix announced a new suite of metrics that will gives sites a better idea of the kind of traffic they have if they’re using Ajax by basing statistics on “visits.” A visit as they define it is the number of times a unique person accesses content within a Web entity with breaks between access of at least 30 minutes.
Within their suite, they’re also including total visits, average minutes per visit, average visits per visitor, and average visits per usage day. I think the average minutes per visit is another important measurement tool because it gives an idea of how long people are engaged with the content.
It’s good to see a major statistics provider implement another way to view traffic ranking so that people who use Ajax get a better, more comprehensive idea of where their site stands. The people who have avoided Ajax so far simply for the page views have absolutely no excuse now!