Request a Demo

Digital Experience Glossary: The Most Important Terms You Need to Know


Bird’s nest behavior? Digital body language? Frustration score? As digital experience has become the customer experience for many brands, make sure you know the terms and metrics that matter the most with this ultimate Digital Experience Glossary.

Today’s consumer is smarter and more connected and expects more than ever, with 75% of consumers saying they want consistent experiences across multiple channels (web, mobile, in-person, social) and 73% likely to switch brands if they don’t get it.

With web and mobile now at the heart of the customer experience, organizations need a deep understanding of the digital experience, and how they can improve it. Business leaders and customer experience pros alike are now deciphering digital body language, studying heat maps and trying to avoid causing user friction and frustration. 

If you’re not exactly sure what those terms are, our ultimate digital experience glossary provides to-the-point definitions of the most essential digital experience terms you need to know.

Digital Experience Glossary: Defining the Terms

Abandonment rate — Online, this is the percentage of total users that leave a website or app and “abandon” their user journeys without completing the intended goal, like engagement or conversion. Often this happens in ecommerce contexts when customers add items to their shopping cart without checking out and finishing their purchase.

A/B testing — On websites and apps, it’s a method of comparing two versions of the same digital element with just one variable differing between the two in order to determine which performs better. The variable used in the experiment could be text copy, button size, page layout, form length, or just about anything that may impact how users behave and interact.

App analytics — A solution that provides insights around app performance by collecting and measuring quantitative user data. Common metrics companies track using app analytics include app traffic, time in app, app launches, conversion rates, abandonment rates, engagement rates, returning users, and more.

Bird’s nest behavior — When a user rapidly shakes their mouse around, leaving a jumbled trail that resembles a bird’s nest when tracked with tools such as session replay –– it denotes frustration or confusion and is a signal of a poor digital experience.

Chatbot — An AI-powered messaging tool used on websites and apps to provide users with automated self-service and customer support. These solutions can provide answers to FAQs, share resources and information, search for content, and help connect customers to frontline agents. 

Conversion rate — A metric used to measure  the percentage of users on a website or app who complete a desired goal — such as making a purchase or signing up for an account — versus the total number of potential customers. (e.g., the percentage of people who place an order out of the total number of unique individuals who view the product).

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) — An approach to improving conversion rates online through researching issues, hypothesizing possible fixes, testing viable solutions, and evaluating the results. It’s best practice to focus on improving user experience by eliminating friction and known issues on a website or app, rather than trying to force users to convert early. 

Customer experience (CX) — Customers’ perception of their experience with a brand or organization over time, which results from every interaction they have from a website or app to customer service to purchasing a product or service, etc. This allows companies to drive loyalty at every point along the customer life cycle by capturing and analyzing signals to predict behavior, take action and create experiences that lead to customer loyalty.

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) — A measure of how happy customers feel about a given company, product, or service versus their expectations. Typically gathered via surveys or other forms of customer feedback.

Device rotation behavior — When a user rotates their tablet or mobile device from portrait to landscape mode or vice versa. This behavior can reflect either engagement (like when watching a video) or frustration (when a website layout doesn’t fit the user’s screen).

Digital body language — Every interaction and gesture a user makes on a website or app. These behaviors range from how fast and at which angles they move their mouse to where they click, hover, and scroll. Other behaviors include device rotations, the rate at which they tap, where they pinch, and more.

Digital experience — The customer’s impression of their experience specific to their interactions with a brand’s digital properties, such as websites or apps. Factors like usability, navigation, design, content, performance, and security each shape the quality of a customer’s digital experience. It ultimately impacts the engagement, conversions, revenue, and loyalty brands generate online.

Digital experience analytics — A solution that instantly measures and quantifies customer experiences on websites or apps. It typically includes capabilities that uncover online customer experience issues with features like digital experience scoring, behavior detection, and journey analysis, among many others. On top of that, it typically comes equipped with forensic tools for investigating and resolving those issues, like session replay and heatmaps.

Digital experience optimization — A process used to improve user experiences on websites and apps. It involves three key stages: measure, analyze, and improve. This process requires businesses to utilize quantitative user data along with qualitative user data in a way that enables them to move beyond conversion rate optimization and enhance the overall digital experience. 

Digital Experience Score (DXS®) — A metric that quantifies the online customer experience at scale to identify and prioritize the most urgent experience issues impacting conversions and engagement. Medallia’s DXS® measures the overall digital experience of a website or app on a scale of 0-10, with 10 reflecting a seamless, friction-free experience. DXS® is calculated through five pillars of digital experience: engagement, frustration, navigation, technical, and form experiences.

Digital feedback — Feedback customers or potential customers share with companies via online channels such as on-site or in-app surveys and chatbots. These comments offer voice of customer insights around digital experience.

Digital transformation — A process of redesigning customer journey workflows due to both customers and companies shifting away from traditional, in-person, heavily paper-based interactions to more digital, self-serve experiences. Companies are looking to improve experiences by making them easier by eliminating friction and delays, as well as saving operating costs. 

Ecommerce — The process of selling or purchasing products and services through digital channels, such as websites and apps.

Engagement rate — A metric that reflects the percentage of users who interact with online elements, such as scrolling down a blog or clicking on a button to make a purchase. Engagement can be measured differently depending on the solution. Website and app analytics track quantitative interactions whereas digital experience analytics track a mixture of both quantitative and qualitative.

Engagement score — A metric that scores user engagement levels on websites and apps on a scale of 0-10, with 10 indicating an exceptionally engaging customer journey. The more attentive users are, and the more positive interactions and behaviors they display, the better the engagement score. It makes up one of five pillars of experience that are measured to produce the digital experience score (DXS®) of a website or app.

Form analytics — An analytical tool used to track and measure the experiences and outcomes on any form-based submission page like account sign-up and login screens, checkout processes, content download pages, demo requests and contact forms, and others alike.

Form experience score — A metric that scores form-based experiences on websites and apps on a scale of  0-10, with 10 indicating a clear, accurate, and easy-to-use form. To receive a high form experience score, interacting with a form on your digital property should be intuitive and friction free. It’s one of the five pillars of experience that are measured to produce the digital experience score (DXS®). 

Frustration score — A metric that scores user frustration levels on websites and apps between -10 and 0, with 0 indicating a pleasant and frustration-free online journey. To receive a score indicating low levels of frustration, navigating your digital properties should be smooth and simple thanks to intuitive layouts, responsive elements, and clear information. It’s one of the five pillars of experience that are measured to produce the digital experience score (DXS®). 

Heatmap — A tool that provides visualizations of aggregate on-page user behavior for websites and apps. There are a number of different kinds of heatmaps, including click/touch, hover, behavior, scroll, and attribution heatmaps. Each heatmap tracks specific types of interactions, and they work best for investigating apparent user experience issues like a page with high abandonment rates.

Journey visualizations — Tools that help identify and visualize the exact paths users take on a website or app in the online customer journey. This type of tool is often included as a part of a broader digital experience analytics solution and typically includes standard conversion funnels along with sunburst visualizations.

Landing page — A web page that’s designed to convert users into leads after they click through from an ad, email, social media post, or another website. These pages include a form used to collect customer information. In exchange, the customer may receive access to a product, service, promotion, or piece of content. 

Mouse reading behavior — When a user directly follows the content they are reading on a website or app with their mouse, indicating an engaged user. It’s rare that a user will follow, say, an entire paragraph, but just a line or so is actually rather common. This online behavior is comparable to a customer picking up and interacting with a product in store.

Multi-click behavior — When a user rapidly clicks or taps on an on-page element on a website or app, reflecting a frustrating user experience. This can be further broken down to “unresponsive multi-click,” where the behavior falls on an unresponsive element, like a paragraph of text or an image, and “responsive multi-click,” where the behavior falls on a responsive element, like a link or a carousel.

Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) — The Net Promoter Score is a simple, easy-to-understand customer experience metric that gauges a customer’s likelihood to recommend a product or solution to a friend or colleague using an 11-point scale. Organizations subtract the percentage of detractors (that is respondents with a score of 0-6) from the percentage of promoters (respondents with a score of 9-10) to calculate an overall NPS score. NPS scores can range anywhere from -100 to 100. NPS is most effective when used to compare the NPS of a given brand with the NPS scores of competitors using a double-blind, independent research firm. The most valuable aspect of NPS is uncovering why customers provide a given score. In some organizations, NPS is used as a proxy for gauging overall customer satisfaction with a company’s product or service as well as overall customer loyalty.

Omnichannel — Experiences designed to be consistent and seamless across all of the major channels where customers interact with a brand (e.g., website, mobile app, stores, contact centers, etc.).

Path analysis — The discovery of common user journeys through websites and apps. Typically, digital teams use path analysis in the context of conversions, investigating the performance of particular pages of a website or app in terms of their contribution to a specific user goal or outcome, such as making a purchase.

Personalization — When brands collect and use customer data and preferences to tailor interactions, communications, and experiences to the individual. Examples include addressing customers by first name, suggesting new products or services based on prior behavioral patterns, and thanking them for how long they’ve been doing business with the company.

Pulse survey — A brief survey sent to customers or employees at specific moments to collect feedback and gauge experience quality in real time. For digital, these surveys automatically send to customers on-site or in-app in moments in the online journey, but they can also  SMS or email.

Qualitative user data — Describes the attributes or properties of an experience. This type of data is subjective and may be challenging to analyze manually without automation. Examples include session replays, direct customer feedback, user testing, and anything else that involves deep, direct insights into customer sentiment and motivation.

Quantitative user data — Expresses a certain quantity, amount, or range of outcomes. This type of data is objective, as it measures discrete results. Examples include metrics like page views, click rates, session durations, conversion rates, and bounce rates.

Relationship survey — Designed to engage existing customers and measure their loyalty to a brand via experienced-based questions and scoring metrics like NPS and CSAT.

Scroll engagement behavior — When a user scrolls down the page on a website or app in a smooth, regular rhythm, signifying the consumption of digital content, such as articles or product listings.

Select and copy behavior — When a user selects text from a website or app and copies it, indicating engagement, comparison research, or even fraud.

Session replay — A tool that enables digital teams to watch back videos of real, anonymized users interacting with websites or apps. With an “over the shoulder” view, teams get a first-hand look at the real problems causing user frustration and impacting journeys. Session replays provide the most value when used to investigate specific, known issues like a form with spiking errors. 

Sunburst visualizationsA type of journey visualization thats shows every unique path followed by users with an array of journey segments graphed in a circular display. These visualizations simplify large, complex data sets in an easy-to-digest format to quickly pinpoint bottlenecks or the fastest path to conversion.

Technical experience score — A metric that scores technical-based factors on a scale of 0-10, with 10 indicating a flawless customer journey with everything running as it should. To receive a score indicating an excellent technical experience, every element of your website or app should load promptly without errors, be responsive for all devices, and perform as expected when a user interacts with it. It’s one of the five pillars of experience that’s measured to produce the digital experience score (DXS®) of a digital property. 

Transactional survey — A type of survey used to collect feedback from a customer about a specific interaction or transaction, like a purchase, content download, or chat with frontline support.

User testing — A process used to test the functionality, usability, design, and content of a digital product, typically a website or app. This reveals how users actually interact with and navigate a product in a realistic setting.

User experience (UX) — While customer experience refers to the overall experience a customer has when interacting with a brand across channels (in person, online, over the phone, and via other channels), user experience typically refers to the design and usability of products such as websites, mobile apps, or even physical items.

User experience design — A process of creating products, like websites and apps, that places user needs and preferences at the center of the design and development process instead of directly catering to business metrics or executives. This process indirectly works to optimize conversions through high-quality experiences that often generate more customers and stronger customer engagement.

User friction — Any obstacle or issue within a product (website, app, etc.) that prevents the user from completing their desired goal, like retrieving account information or filling out a form.

User friendly — A product trait which implies a seamless user experience built to maximize intuitive usability based on logical, user-centric design while being highly accessible to all intended users.

User journey — The path a user takes to complete their goal on a website or app, such as creating an account, consuming content, or comparing services. Unlike predefined marketing funnels, user journeys are undefined and formed by user’s interactions and the pages or screens users visit.

Website analytics — A solution that measures website performance by collecting and reporting on quantitative website data like site traffic, time on site, conversion rates, abandonment rates, bounces rates, engagement rates, returning users, and more. 

Download “Digital Innovation Leaders: How 6 companies transformed their businesses to stay ahead of changing consumer behavior” to learn how you can prepare for what’s next in today’s digital-first world.