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A simple javascript multivariate testing framework

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Fixed problem with customized StorageAdapter. The specified value was…

… never stored because this.storageAdapter was used instead of this.options.storageAdapter.

Also removed the this.trackEvent first parameter '_trackEvent' to trackEvent function for the GoogleAnalyticsAdapter (trackEvent have that already specified)
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README.textile

Cohorts

Cohorts is a simple, purely javascript, multivariate testing framework.

It allows you to easily run split tests for visitors on your site, showing them different designs, layouts, or whatever you want. Cohorts also allows you to track interesting events that occur for each of the cohorts. By default, it uses Google Analytics event tracking to store data, but you can customize it to use your own or another.

Note that Cohorts will not do any analysis for you: it’s up to you to carefully consider analyze the data gathered to make business decisions.

Since the framework is purely javascript based, it’s especially useful if you’re working in an environment that has page and fragment caching.

Basic Usage

1. Setup the asynchronous version of Google Analytics using the instructions on this page: http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/tracking/asyncTracking.html

2. Include cohorts.js in the head of your page.

3. Instantiate and configure the Cohorts.Test object.

For example, say you want to run a test to determine whether a bigger header link results in more clicks. In your page, you have both big and small header links, and they are not displayed by default. You can setup 2 cohorts like this:


    // Note that this example assumes jQuery
    var header_test = new Cohorts.Test({
        name: 'big_vs_small_header',
        sample: 1, // we want to include all visitors in the test
        cohorts: {
            big: {
                onChosen: function() {
                    $('#big').show();
                }
            },
            small: {
                onChosen: function() {
                    $('#small').show();
                }
            }
        }
    });

    $('#big').click(function() {
        header_test.event('Clicked on Header');
    });

    $('#small').click(function() {
        header_test.event('Clicked on Header');
    });
    

After running this live on your site, you will see new data in the Event Tracking section of Google Analytics.

There will be a new category called “cohorts”, and under that, all your tests will show up as “actions”. In this case “big_vs_small_header” will be an action.

Under each test action, you will see various labels. For this example, you will see the following labels:

  • “big | Total” – The total number of people seeing the big header
  • “big | Clicked on Header " – The total number of people in the big cohort that clicked on the header
  • “small | Total” – The total number of people seeing the small header
  • “small | Clicked on Header " – The total number of people in the small cohort that clicked on the header

From this data, you can determine the effects the design change.

API

Constructor

To initiate the test, create an instance of Cohorts.Test, which accepts an options hash with the following keys:

  • name The name of the test. This needs to be unique.
  • sample A float from 0 to 1.0 representing the percentage of visitors that should be in the test. For example, if you specify 0.5, only 50% of visitors will be considered to be testable. This is useful if you want to restrict testing to a small percentage of visitors.
  • cohorts Hash with keys of the names of the cohorts. For the values, you can specify a onChosen function that should be executed as soon as the visitor resolves to that cohort.
  • storageAdapter An object representing the data store you want to use. More details below. If you don’t specify anything, it will defaults to using Google Analytics event tracking.

Instance Methods

inCohort(cohort_name) Whether the visitor is in the specified cohort.
getCohort() Returns the cohort chosen for the visitor.
setCohort(cohort_name) Sets the cohort for the visitor.

Don’t want to use Google Analytics? No problem.

Google Analytics event tracking is a great way to store data. They provide a great abstraction so you don’t have to worry about making a scalable data store for your tests.

If you want to use another data store, simply specify an object for the storageAdapter parameter to the Cohorts.Test constructor that looks like the following:


myStorageAdapter = {
    // Called when the Cohort.Test is initialized, and the visitor is resolved into a cohort.
    //   inTest: whether the visitor is in the test
    //   testName: the name of the test
    //   cohort: the cohort chosen for the visitor. Will be null if the visitor isn't in the test
    onInitialize: function(inTest, testName, cohort) {
        // do initialization stuff
    },
    
    // Called when the event method is for the Cohort.Test instance is called.
    //   testName: the name of the test
    //   cohort: the cohort of the visitor
    //   eventName: the name of the event the visitor triggered
    onEvent: function(testName, cohort, eventName) {
        // do event stuff
    }
}

By specifying the above, you can easily hook up Cohorts to use your own data store. For example, you could make AJAX calls within onInitialize and onEvent to your web analytics service.

Forcing Cohorts

It’s useful when testing to force yourself into a particular cohort. You can specify a cohort via URL encoded params in a hash, like so:


http://www.example.com/page.html#test1=cohort_foo&test2=cohort_bar

This would force test1 to be in cohort_foo and test2 to be in cohort_bar.

Details and Notes

Cohorts uses javascript and cookies to track visitors and the various details about them. For all visitors that are chosen to be in the test, based on sample, it evenly divides visitors among the different cohorts specified.

Once a visitor is chosen to be in/out of the test, and also in a cohort, they will be chosen the same way as long as their cookies persist.

You can have multiple tests running on a page, as long as your test names are unique.

TODO

  • Ability to specify cookie expiry.
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