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Data Annotations

This article will explain how data annotations are managed and present some recommended uses.

Your software does not live in a vacuum and the total usage of your applications are affected by a number of factors such as marketing campaigns, releases of new versions, major new customers signing up. This intrinsic knowledge surrounding your software can be captured in the analytics client through the use of timeline data annotations that allow you to annotation the timeline of your application with descriptive information for use when interpreting data.

Managing annotations

You need to have Administrative privileges to manage annotations

You can create new annotations by selecting the Add Annotation menu item. This will open the Add Annotation dialog.

AnalyticsClientDataAnnotationsDialog

From here you can create the annotation by entering:

  • The Date on which the annotation should be present
  • The Annotation text that describes the annotation
  • The Type of annotation, which is either a Note or a Release annotation

Once created, the annotation can be shown on the data visualization by enabling the Show data annotations overlay. Note that the data annotation is set on the application timeline and is therefore not specific to a single data visualization but available for all other data visualizations in the application. So it is not recommended to use the annotations to highlight aspects of a single data item but rather to highlight occurrences in the full application lifetime.

The annotation is shown as a vertical line (see screenshot).

AnalyticsClientDataAnnotationShow

The textual annotation of the annotation is available by hovering the mouse, where the extended tooltip will show the annotation text (see example below, where the annotation reads "Christmas holidays"):

AnalyticsClientDataAnnotationTooltip

You can easily remove any annotation on the application timeline by selecting the Delete Annotation menu item on any data visualization item and you will be able to select and delete any of the annotations defined on the application.

AnalyticsClientDataAnnotationDelete

How to use annotations

Since annotations are just descriptive text on the timeline for your application, they can be used for pretty much anything you like, but here are a few examples:

  • Create annotations for the public release of your software versions. Knowing when a new version of the software starts hitting customers can be valuable information in understand why some features or exceptions changed their previous trends
  • Create annotations for larger marketing campaigns that might influence the number of people using your software and how they are using it. If a marketing campaign for a specific feature was created that might help to explain a sudden rise in the usage of that specific feature.
  • Add annotations for known incidents or for downtime or maintenance in your supporting software, which is valuable information when interpreting a rise in errors reported or lack of features being used.
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