Everywhere you turn these days, you can see a Heatmap. From weather reports to real estate firms – analysts use the wherever there is data. You may think that heat maps are a newfangled invention of the digital age. Ummm, no! Heat maps have been around for quite some time, since the 19th century.
Heatmaps: A Definition
It is a graphical representation of data, where individual clusters of values are represented by different colours. The term “Heat Map” was coined by Cormac Kinney, a software designer in 1991. He used the term to depict the financial market. While the term came into use two and a half decades ago, this method of shading matrices have been around for more than a century.
HeatMaps: As A Tool for Website Analysis
In simple terms, heat maps primarily use colours to visualise data. They are a graphical form of storytelling. Whether you use hot and cold colours or traffic light colours or opt for custom colour schemes, heat maps are an effective way to convey information. They are an excellent tool to understand analytics data and to visualise web activity.
Why the need for Heatmaps to Track Web Analytics?
While conventional methods of analytics help you get an overall idea of how your website or application performs, it fails to explain “Why” certain actions happen.
Most web pages use Google Analytics to track the figures. But the big question is, do they use it efficiently? Well, to put it bluntly, most people website owners fail to exploit the power of analytics. In fact, even today, a majority of web design decisions are based on wrong interpretations of data or worse still by “relying on gut data.”
Web Design isn’t Guesswork; it’s a highly defined Science.
The catch with Traditional Methods of Analytics
Commonly used analytics methods give you the number of people who clicked a particular button and landed on a specific page. But they fail to let you know the reason why a percentage of people did a specific action, while others didn’t do that.
If only you could know the “how” and “why ” you gain an immense advantage. You can refine your interface to boost usability and improve conversions.
This is where Visual Analytics come in.
The Role of Visual Analytics in bridging the Gaps
In-page or visual analytics is different from traditional methods of web analytics. They help you to understand the user behaviour pattern. They focus on what is happening on your web page. These tools help you to get a clearer picture of user behaviour.
The benefit?? You can make more accurate and quicker decisions.
Heatmaps: Finding the Links between Clicks and Users
User click-tracking tools like heat maps are incredibly useful for collecting data about your page visitors. These tools use different colours to represent all the clicks that are happening on your page. They help you identify areas that receive the most attention from the users. This information helps you to gauge which areas of your site are attractive to the end user.
Biggest Advantage??? Heat maps are easy to use and aren’t time-consuming.
A Real-life Example
A popular e-commerce store found out that many of their users reached the Shopping Cart, but they failed to check out. Everything up to this point was working good, and there was a seamless flow. However, something was wrong at this point. A click test (heat map) revealed that people failed to click on the Checkout button because they were distracted by the “Promotion Button” that was positioned directly above the “Checkout” button.
A revision of design improved check out rates by 21%.
Why Heatmaps Matter?
If particular design elements on your web page do not meet the expectations of your customers, then it indicates that there is some problem.
Each element on your web page does a particular job, and it’s critical that they do it properly.
Take a look at a few benefits of using Heatmaps on your Web page
Find out where People Click
Heat maps very often show all the places where clicks are happening on your site. This helps you to measure the effectiveness of your “Call To Action” buttons. You can also find out the most popular places on your site by switching to a particular mode on Heatmaps.
Learn what People See and what isn’t Visible to Them
One of the biggest benefits of heat maps is that they help you understand where people look on your web page. This is essential to determine the overall layout of your site. Several studies prove that people tend to look at the left portion of the site – how can you use this to your advantage?
- Review your heatmaps and add CTA in a place where visitors are more likely to spot it.
- Refine your product pages to drag the attention of users and make it easy for them to navigate around your site.
- Improve the overall appeal of your site by adding navigation pointers in easy to find places.
Understand how your Users React
There are instances when you don’t need a click to reveal that you have achieved your goal. For example, if a client reads a text block about an ongoing SALE and adds products to their shopping cart, then it means that the text has helped in achieving your goal.
The big question here is, “How do you Find out what your Users were Thinking?” .The positions where cursors paused help you deduce the areas that are attractive to your visitor. Most heat maps have an inbuilt tool called as “hover maps” that pinpoints exactly where the hover cursor stopped.
Learn how people roll the scroll
Apart from the clicks of the mouse, the scroll wheel is an essential part in determining the browsing experience. Some websites have long scrolls, but the information on the lower half of the page is often missed out by the user.
A scroll map can give you a visual representation of how far down the user reached on your site. This is a key factor in determining the levels of engagement.
For instance, if you learn that most people aren’t clicking on the relevant information at the bottom of the page, then you can move it above the fold or even change your layout to make it short.
Filter out the Best
Heat maps come with embedded filters. You can make use of these options to analyse the behaviour patterns of different types of users.
Give an exact number to your Analysis
Apart from the visuals represented by heat maps, the statistics gained from clicks and movements are essential for web design.
For instance, you can use heat maps to get the actual number of clicks per view. Higher the number, greater is the engagement. Alternatively, a larger number of clicks can also signal that people struggle with your design.
You can filter heat maps based on clicks per view, then examine the usage patterns of this segment. If a large number of clicks are taking people to static portions of your site, then it means you need to revise your design ASAP. However, if the clicks take people to prime areas, then you can pat yourself on the back for your excellent design decisions.
Remove or eliminate unwanted Navigation Points
Ensure that the entire sale process is seamless and streamlined from start to finish. Heatmapping helps you to refine and remove unwanted navigation points that distract visitors. Removing these problematic navigation points is essential if you want to boost conversions and avoid frustrating your visitors.
The Bottom Line
Streamline and make your design effective with the help of visual data. Plug in the errors and holes of your site and provide your customers with added functionality and improve UI, thereby ultimately boosting conversion rates and ROI.
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