Apache log file analysis plus SimCity equals VisitorVille, a program that displays your website as a city, with traffic represented by people moving from building to building (page to page), and arriving via bus (referrers and search engines).
Visitors come to your web site from other sites (referrers). Some of these referrers are search engines. In VisitorVille, referrers are depicted as buses. And web pages on your site are depicted as buildings. When a new visitor arrives, a bus delivers them to a building. To move between buildings, visitors either walk, take a cab or — if you have designated them as a VIP — a limousine. VIPs also fly in by helicopter.
When you have many visitors on your web site, it begins to resemble midtown Manhattan, and it’s hard to get your eyes off the screen! Buildings resize and illuminate dynamically based on the number of people inside, their relative popularity, and how many visitors exited through them. Buses, taxis, and limos race around the streets; pedestrians walk across crosswalks; helicopters ply the air. It’s all very real, because it’s reflecting something that’s also very real: Your visitors are human beings, and they exhibit human behavior. They are not abstractions, and with VisitorVille you no longer have to think of them as such!
As goofball as it sounds, after spending some time perusing their website, I have to admit that this is a really cool idea. Unfortunately, it’s a really cool idea whose client software only runs on Windows. Such a shame…
iTunes: “Part 2 (Bomb the Bass/Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five/The Charlatans/Prodigy/Jane’s Addiction/Tim Dog feat. KRS-One)” by Howlett, Liam from the album Prodigy pres. The Dirtchamber Sessions Vol. 1 (1999, 6:44).