Using heatmaps and live recordings for quick-win improvements
Google Analytics is an amazing tool for understanding how people interact with your website, but sometimes it can be a little tricky working out the in-between interactions; how a user got from A to B and why. Additional tools such as Lucky Orange or Crazy Egg are simple to setup and great to use alongside your Google Analytics to get a more accurate idea of how the user is interacting with your site. Modern Content Management Systems (CMS) have also evolved into experience management systems that can provide detailed data on user journeys. Using heat maps and live recordings are a great way to bridge the gap between the data and user behaviour.
Heatmaps are valuable for being able to see a snapshot of how active users are interacting with specific elements on a web page in a visual way. Being able to compare how active a slider on the homepage is compared to the navigation or the call to action provides insights around behaviour. You can see where the user focus is and what isn’t getting attention on the page. Another heatmap feature is the ability to see how far users scroll down a page, especially useful for deeper homepages. Having a call to action or list of services is great but not if 75% of users never scroll down far enough to see them. Lack of activity doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not working, it just might not be working with the other elements on the page or its current placement.
It was not obvious from Google Analytics that having a high priority link within the drop-down menu was impeding the user’s ability to find contact information.
I had a recent example of this on a project where a large percentage of users were going to the contact page via the “Contact Us” link in the footer rather than clicking the contact link that was in the dropdown menu. In Google Analytics, the contact page data does not specify which link the users clicked to get to the page, only that is was a highly active page. It was not obvious from Google Analytics that having a high priority link within the drop-down menu was impeding the user’s ability to find contact information. Using a heatmap provided insights that lead to a more intuitive navigation.
Recordings allow you to see what users engage with most, and identifies areas of frustration. These pain points can be seen where a user moves around the page trying to find something, or if certain interactions are too confusing.
Live recordings are another valuable tool for understanding how users interact with your site and what draws their focus. It allows you to drill down to needs for specific audiences. For example, a recording of a user that is exploring a range of products/services on your site will behave quite differently to a user with a very specific need. Recordings allow you to see what users engage with most, and identifies areas of frustration. These pain points can be seen where a user moves around the page trying to find something, or if certain interactions are too confusing. Recordings are useful for identifying critical micro interactions and optimising for the best and most efficient experience.
The good news is that these tools can be setup in a few days and quickly provide behavioural insights that can drive quick win improvements to the user experience – without needing months of worth of data for meaningful results.