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Written by: Ian Hickman

Defining a User Session

A user session is all the interactions that a user makes with the site in one sitting. There are several ways that the logs could be split into sessions:

  • Time: The time between two successive site accesses - by the same user - must be below a certain value (say 1 hour).
  • First Page accessed: Users always visit the Index page at the start of a session and they never access it while in a session.
  • Previous Page accessed: Users always come to the site from a page outside it.

Defining a User Session using Time

How long should the certain value between user accesses be? To answer this, the frequency distribution of site access times needs to be seen. (i.e. how many pages are displayed for 0 seconds, how many for 1 etc.) The results are displayed below.

Under 5 minutes
Over 5 minutes

The peak at 15-17 seconds in the first of these graphs is analysed here.

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