For a second, imagine a hypothetical situation. You are helping your friend move out of a maze. He can see you but can’t hear you. Now, what will you do? Ofcourse, You will try to give him signs towards the end. Right?
There is a somewhat similar case with heatmaps and UX. Heatmaps help you identify UX obstacles that keep your friends (visitors) away from performing their end goals on your website. They offer precise customer-centric data, with which you can boost your website UX and convert visitors into leads.
In this article, you will learn:
- What are heatmaps?
- What are the most common types of heatmaps?
- How to boost your website UX using heatmaps?
Let’s jump right in.
What are Heatmaps?
Have you ever played a video game? If yes, then you must have seen an image like this:
This is a heatmap. Heatmaps are the visual representations of information about an area. The information and area vary depending on the goal of the heatmap.
In our case, the area is the website, and the information is – where users interact more, less, and none. It visualizes the data, which indicates how the site users interact on a page. To do this, it uses a simple color code: red for hot areas – areas that attract the reader’s interest, and blue for cold areas – neglected areas.
Simply put, the heatmaps of your website help you understand the course of your users on your web pages. They allow you to see:
- Where they click
- How far they scroll your pages
- What they are looking at
- What they ignore
Different types of heatmaps serve these different purposes.
FUN FACT: Parisian urban planning engineers were the first to use heatmaps. They used different colours to mark city maps to make statistical data clearer and more understandable.
What Are The Types of Heatmaps?
There are essentially three types of heatmaps. They are:
- Click tracking heatmaps
- Scroll maps
- Mouse tracking heatmaps
Let’s study all three in detail, after which we are going to learn how heatmaps can be used to improve UX. Let’s start with the types first:
Click maps or click tracking heatmaps are the most commonly used heat maps. Click map is used to record the information about – ‘where your visitors have You don’t know, but your webpage may have a lackluster copy, a not-so-good image, or any other issue. clicked after reaching your landing page.’ Here’s an illustration that helps you understand the Click heat map more easily and better.
In the above image, you can see red spots on various areas. This is because the map uses different colours to display the clicking pattern. The red spots are the areas where the visitors have clicked the most. And as the number of clicks goes down, the colour of the spots becomes lighter.
It helps website owners determine whether their visitors are clicking on the areas they want them to or not. The number of clicks should be highest only on the CTA buttons of your landing page. If that’s not the case, you need to make your call to action buttons more attractive, easily accessible, and engaging enough for the visitors to click on them.
Like Click heat maps record the visitors’ clicks, Scroll maps record the scrolling behavior of the visitors.
This heat map tracks and shows how far users scroll your page and where they leave scrolling. It divides the web page into folds for better understanding. A fold is how much a webpage appears at once on the visitor’s screen (without scrolling below). Therefore, the scrolling heat map is widely used for long web pages with a lot of content.
The information it provides is very helpful. It helps you to check:
- Where did your visitors lose interest, and why?
- Whether users are missing your CTA because they’re positioned too low?
- Do you need to change the position of CTA?
Moreover, this scroll map helps to see if a web page’s length supports user experience or not. Here’s a good example of a scroll map:
The primary role of a scroll map is to figure out the areas of your page where users are abandoning the reading process. Using the information derived from this heat map, you can determine why the visitors are only scrolling through a certain point of your page and then perform AB testing to verify those reasons.
You don’t know if your webpage has a lacklustre copy, any image, or any other issue that’s turning your visitors off. But using scroll maps, you can figure out those issues and resolve them as soon as possible. As a result, it will increase your user engagement rate and thus your web sites’ UX.
Mouse Tracking Heat Maps
Mouse tracking or Mouse maps are the third most common type of heat maps. As the name indicates, the mouse heatmap shows the mouse movement of the visitors after landing on your webpage.
It reveals some interesting points on the way users read and navigate your webpage. However, there is one slight drawback with this heat map. You cannot completely rely on mouse movements. It’s not always like where the visitors are moving their cursor is where they are actually looking at.
So, just because if a visitor’s cursor stays on heading for 3 to 4 minutes, it does not mean they were reading it. Therefore, questions arise on the reliability of the mouse map data.
Google’s Doctor Anne did a research on the accuracy of this heat map. And here’s what she found:
- Only 6% of the total visitors showed a direct correlation between their eye movement and mouse movement. This means 94% of visitors did not correlate.
- 10% of visitors hovered over a specific page element while reading the rest of the content on that webpage.
- 19% of the visitors showed a horizontal correlation between their eye moment and mouse movement.
Here’s how a mouse map looks like:
Now, as you are familiar with the primary types of heatmaps, it’s time to share what you have been waiting for:
How to Use Heatmaps to Improve UX?
Heatmaps clearly tell a lot about your visitors’ movements on your websites. But how can you use the heat map’s data to boost your website’s UX? Below we have explained a few expert ways to serve this purpose:
Perform A/B Website Design Testing With Heatmaps
Using heat maps, you can understand your design’s usability. This helps you know which version of your web design will work best for your website. Heatmaps also give you insights into sub-optimal screens in your web design. For example, it tells:
- Whether visitors are scrolling upwards or downwards,
- They are reaching to call to action button or not;
- Which area of your webpage they are spending most of their time on.
Depending on the movement patterns of their cursors, you will learn whether visitors are spending more time with real engagement or out of confusion. Using all this data, you can create multiple designs and do this:
- First, perform AB testing of your designs using heatmaps.
- After that, pick the one that performs the best and continue optimizing it.
Performing AB testing using heat maps lets you see whether the visitors navigate straight to what they are looking for or if they get off-track. Even a single-second response delay in your design can dramatically impact the UX and cause a 7% reduction in conversions.
Learn Which CTA Button Gets Most Clicks
The performance of your call-to-action buttons is a crucial aspect of improving UX. Heatmaps help you evaluate it. With heatmaps, you can check which CTAs are getting clicks and which are ignored. Once you are aware of this data, you can adjust the CTAs accordingly to improve their performance. For example, if a CTA is being ignored by your visitors, you can try placing it in the most-clicked areas. That’s how you can improve the UX fast and efficiently.
Heatmap Highlights Items in Your Website That Creates Friction
88% of people do not return to a website if they have a bad user experience.
Have you ever visited a tough-to-navigate and confusing website? If yes, then you are already aware of the struggles of internet users. Do you want to offer the same inconvenience to your visitors?
Thankfully, using a heatmap, you can determine the spots in your website where visitors are facing troubles. Once you discover such areas, you can work on them to improve your UX. This way, you can use heat maps efficiently to offer your visitors clear navigation.
Use Heatmaps With UX Tools
Heatmap data is unquestionably amazing and gives plenty of insights. However, there’s a way to get more out of it – combine your heatmap with other UX design tools. Below are the best three duos:
Traditional Analytics + Heatmaps
Traditional analytics tools such as Google Analytics will provide you with plenty of quantitative data points. For example, bounce rates, traffic sources, and page views. However, these data points alone are not enough to improve your UX. When you combine Google Analytics with heatmap-provided insights, you’ll discover where your webpage is lacking and the solution to it.
Got a webpage with a good amount of traffic but a low conversion rate? Use a heatmap and Google analytics to figure out what’s making visitors leave. A combination of these amazing tools will help you improve your UX in a better way. Some examples are:
Session Replay + Heatmaps
Session replay is an amazing tool that lets you view your visitors’ activities. It shows all the actions of a visitor across multiple pages. Instead of guessing about scrolling and clicking, you use the combination of both these tools. They will help you find what your users are actually looking for. According to which you can make changes in your web pages, enhancing the UX.
On-page Feedback + Heat Maps
Numerical or quantitative data is highly important to make decisions about the UX. However, many people make the mistake of overlooking the value of this information. Try combining on-page feedback with heatmaps to get more detailed insights. Here’s what you need to do:
First, use a heatmap to determine the issues in your web page designs. Then to be sure about your chances, ask your visitors for UX feedback on each webpage.
According to BrightLocal, 72% of customers are more likely to write a review if a business asks for it.
Feedbacks will help you learn all things your visitors find missing on your page. You will know if the areas you wanted to update deserve changes or not. Once you know that, you can work on making the desired changes to make navigation easy. And if they are successfully reaching the right place without navigation, it means your navigation is efficient, and so does your UX.
However, remember that website feedback does not need to be distracting to the visitors. A non-intrusive, simple, and decent one-line question pole is all that’s required to kick-start your UX improvement.
That’s it. You are all set to leverage the power of heatmaps to give the best possible UX to your web guests. If you need any help, feel free to