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What the directory contains:

  • Readme.html: this file
  • WebVIP.exe: self-extracting installation file for the WebVIP application 



WebVIP is a program used to instrument a website and then capture the user interactions. WebVIP inserts javascript code into the pages of the website. These scripts capture selected user-generated browser events. Event traces allow the usability engineer to focus his/her attention on other aspects of the testing situation, while the software automatically collects page jumps, keystrokes, mouseovers, etc. The output of WebVIP captures is written in a format called FLUD (Framework for Logging Usability Data). This format is recognized by a visualization tool called VisVIP.

See the FLUD/Readme.html and VisVIP/Readme.html pages for more detailed descriptions of these related tools.

Why will you use this tool:

If you are using the instrumented TMF website provided on the CD distribution (TMFsite_instrumented), then the appropriate javascript code has been inserted into each page of the website. By default, the events that will be captured include:

  • Key_release: Subject releases a key on a keyboard
  • Pointer_release: Subject releases a usa-button
  • Enter_widget: Subject moves system pointer into a widget
  • Leave_widget: Subject moves system pointer out of a widget


WebVIP needs a Web server. You can get the free software for Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME or NT4/2000 with Internet Information Server (IIS) or Personal Web Server (PWS). These Microsoft products are distributed with the operating system.

To install:

  1. Execute the WebVIP.exe program by double-clicking the file name in Windows Explorer. Although you may install WebVIP in any location (C:\Program Files is the default), the subdirectory MUST be named webmet. When you install WebVIP.exe, it will automatically create the directory structure as:

    C:\Program Files\webmet     

  1. Create virtual directories so that your server interprets the following:
    1. as the location where WebVIP was installed.
    3. is "Executable"
    4. is "Executable" 

To capture events:

  1. Locate You may customize this file by adding your company's logo, inserting additional or different instructions for your users, or making any kind of change in the appearance of the page. This is the URL from which each of your subjects will begin your user study.
  2. Now it's time to run the subjects.
    1. Provide each subject with an ID, preferably their name, initials, or another alphanumeric string. WebVIP uses the ID as part of its file-naming convention; when you later use VisVIP to view the user paths, the semantic information will be quite useful.
    2. If a single computer is used by more than one subject, the second (and subsequent) user's login will produce a message about previous logins. Just have the subject follow the instructions provided. No data will be lost.
    3. Provide each subject with a hard-copy of the tasks that you have created.
    4. The user will be required to enter a "Task ID" when beginning each task. WebVIP uses the TaskID as part of its file-naming convention. Therefore, it is recommended that you use task ID's that are semantically rich; for example, 'MsgBoard' rather than '10'. Suggested TaskID's can be found in the Task documents in parentheses in each task heading. 
  3. The subject's data will be collected and stored in the webmet/vip/results/ folder, where is the IP address of the machine on which the test subject performs the test. 

Sending the logfiles for post-processing:

After you have completed testing with your subjects, their logfiles will need to be processed by NIST before they can be used for visualization or pretty-printing. NIST will parse and reformat the files so they can be used by this other software. If you don't mind sharing your data with the project collaborators, send email to cifter_log_shared [at] (cifter_log_shared[at]nist[dot]gov) (cifter_log_shared [at] (cifter_log_shared[at]nist[dot]gov)); attach the logfiles to the message. If you would like to have the data processed but do not wish to share the contents of the logfiles, send email to cifter_log_private [at] (cifter_log_private[at]nist[dot]gov) (cifter_log_private [at] (cifter_log_private[at]nist[dot]gov)); attach the logfiles; they will be destroyed after processing. Our interest in these log files is related to our research on usability. It is difficult to generate such logs of real users performing actual usability tests and these logs of your users' activities will be invaluable to us as we develop other tools and techniques for supporting usability analysis.

When the processing is completed, you will receive email notification with instructions for using each of the types of files created.

For more information:

For greater detail about the NIST tools for usability testing, see NIST Web Metrics. Also see the Readme's in the relevant subdirectories on this disk.


  1. If you are not interested in automatic capture of user interactions, then you should use the plain, uninstrumented version of the website (/TMFsite subdirectory on the CD).
  2. If you would like to create a custom instrumentation of the TMF website in order to capture different events from those provided by those provided in this pre-instrumented site, then you will need to run the instrumenter part of WebVIP. More information on custom instrumentation can be found at: NIST Web Metrics site, WebVIP section.
  3. The WebVIP system is a research product developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology by employees of the Federal Government in the course of their official duties. Pursuant to title 17 Section 105 of the United States Code this software is not subject to copyright protection and is in the public domain.

    We would appreciate acknowledgment if the software is used.

    WebVIP is an experimental system. As you might imagine, NIST assumes no responsibility whatsoever for its use by other parties, and makes no guarantees, expressed or implied, about its quality, reliability, or any other characteristic.

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Created September 28, 2016, Updated October 19, 2016