To provide an optimal website experience for the visitors, we need to make decisions based on data instead of guesswork. You are probably familiar with Google Analytics. It is an excellent tool for detecting website traffic patterns. When it comes to redesigning, though, you’ll need more than graphs and tables. With Google Analytics it’s difficult to get a clear sense of what a visitor does and what the drop-off points are on your website.
However, this is simple to achieve with session replay and heatmap, both of which provide a far deeper knowledge of your visitors: what items they shop, where they click or bounce. With the data you have collected, you can reveal the visitors’ pain points, discover future opportunities, etc. This will also help you with the redesign process if it is necessary.
In connection with the redesign, there are technical factors like loading time, navigation, responsiveness, etc. In addition, there are design factors like the color scheme, font size, style, and so on. Understanding the behavior of a group of users will help you figure out how to make your website’s performance better.
Overloaded navigations, hard-to-find CTAs, and low-converting forms are all issues that you can avoid with heatmaps and session recordings. This is why these website analytics tools are so useful. By using them for a website audit or redesign, you’ll be able to see where the frictions are for your visitors.
In terms of website analytics, heatmaps and session replays are the next step forward. With them, you can also identify areas for A/B testing. This is a method, where you are going to test a specific element of your website for a given period with version „A” and another time interval with version „B”. At the end of the time period, you examine which performed better. You should test any changes you’re considering based on the results of the two analysis tools mentioned.
Now I’ll show you first what heatmapping is and then I move on to session replay and how they fit into site design optimization.
What is a Heatmap?
A heatmap is a quantitative research tool, which is used to provide an aggregated picture of user behavior in a visualized way. Its operation is based on tracking mouse movements, clicking, and typing. Heatmaps show you how users navigate your site. Based on these you can get to know how you should layout the page, where to locate elements on your website. You also get answers to what are the critical areas on your website, which could be the main goal of your redesign. Running heatmaps before designing or redesigning a website could save you from creating a site that doesn’t have a high conversion rate.
Let us not forget that from the data, collected through heatmaps and session replay, you have to draw consequences. For example, do your visitors click on the CTA buttons? Based on this are they at the right place on your page? Or is it necessary to alter their design to be more eye-catching?
The heatmaps have different types. Let’s walk through these and look at what information each type provides:
This provides information about the location of clicks on a website. Below you can see how your heatmap looks like when it tracks clicks on a desktop:
It displays where the user’s mouse is hovering the most on the site. The mouse pointer is generally where the user’s attention is focused. The parts of the page that received the most clicks are red, while those that got the least clicks are blue. You can see how many clicks each section received. The heatmap visualizes what the visitors do on your site and what makes them leave or convert.
Using click heatmap you get to know:
- Which areas of the site attract the most clicks? – From this, it is identifiable what visitors’ top priorities are.
- If clickable elements have any value or if they do not play a significant role in conversions.
- If the most essential CTAs on the website aren’t visible to visitors
Suppose your main offer doesn’t get enough attention, it’s a sign that your website’s priorities aren’t aligned with the majority of users’. In this case, it’s time for a redesign.
The most common places that users move their mouse or touch over are red; the least common is blue. Generally, the “F-pattern” is a common scanning pattern. If the movement comes to halt in the middle of the page, it may show that the page is too long or that the information is filler. Now that you know this, you may try reducing the length to keep visitors on the page. You can also use images, graphs, and text headers to keep the attention of your readers. If you see dead space in your page’s supplementary elements, this is a sign that your visitors aren’t paying attention to them. In this case, you may need to redesign them.
Using move heatmap you get to know:
- How do visitors navigate your website?
- Which factors pique their interest or lead them to leave?
- Do visitors scan through the page and overlook the most crucial information or CTAs?
You want people to scroll down as much as possible on your pages. You’re probably aware that the most essential part of a website in the region, above the fold. You want your most important content placed here because a high percentage of the visitors see this area. When they scroll down, there is usually a significant drop-off. Are you interested in how far your website visitors scroll down? Then start using a scroll heatmap!
Below you can see what your heatmap looks like when it tracks your visitors’ scroll progress:
The red color indicates which parts of the page visitors reach most often. The percentage of scrolls decreases as the colors get colder.
If you hover over the page at any given point, a line will appear and it will tell you what percentage of visitors scrolled down the page. Don’t forget to check your scroll heatmap on your tablet and phone as well. Visitors see most of the content on desktop However, this does not guarantee that the case will be similar on smaller displays. The best approach is to build your websites with mobile users in mind so that you don’t have to show mobile and desktop visitors two distinct sets of material.
Using scroll heatmap you get to know:
- Which parts of the content are popular and which are ignored?
- Which parts of the page do users spend the most time on?
- If certain pages have more engaging content than others based on scroll progress
Have you ever wondered how good it would be to filter traffic from different sources? Well, that’s what the segment heatmap is for.
Segmentation means dividing the participants in the market into smaller parts. With segment heatmaps, you can perform a detailed analysis of various traffic sources such as browsers, devices, etc. For easy identification, each segment in the segment heatmaps is colored differently.
You may compare the behavior of the following segments using segment heatmaps:
- Visitors arriving via organic or direct sources,
- Potential customers arriving via certain operating systems and browsers
- Users arriving via specific devices.
Now, let’s dive into session replays. What they are and when should you use them?
Have you ever tried to put yourself in your visitors’ shoes? Not yet? Then it is time to use session replay.
Using session replay you get to know:
- How do visitors interact with the layout components of your page?
- Are the user journeys you laid out similar to what the bulk of visitors do?
- Are there any serious flaws?
When you want to look at the general pattern of the users’ actions or to learn more about an individual’s activity, session replay is the ideal tool for you. You can watch playbacks of the visitors’ actions, like scrolling or filling a form. It tracks the mouse movements, which help to detect the customer journey. You can see details that might otherwise be overlooked when using a traditional analytics tool. Via session replay, you can concentrate on particular locations where you know you’re losing visitors.
Because you’ll get a lot of data from recordings, it’s a good idea to filter – by different browsers, visitor kinds, and search traffic sources – so you don’t have to view a lot of movies throughout each audit.
Note that session replay only gets better if used with the conversion funnel. After the latter is set, you can check the related session recordings for each conversion. Whatever you want to track like ordering, downloading, subscribing, registering – so the conversion goals – need to be set into a web analytics software. Try to find any behavior that can lead to conversion drops.
You can’t depend on assumptions when redesigning a website because many of them may be proven incorrect or obsolete after you look at these from the perspective of a visitor. This is easy to do with heatmaps and recordings, so you can observe what’s exactly happening on your site.
Keep in mind that while session replays and heatmaps show you what occurred on a site, they don’t tell you why it happened. To prevent misinterpreting the recording’s context and to learn more about the visitors’ intents, combine it with other qualitative user research methods.
If you read the article properly, you already know that website heat mapping and session replays are a great addition to analyzing. So start using them and optimizing today to increase the overall quality of your website! Use free trials that service providers generally offer. If you build this in as a regular practice, it really makes a huge difference.
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