Published on January 29, 2020 Last modified on February 19, 2021
Heatmaps can offer plenty of insights on both your users and your page design—and the best part is, you don’t need to look through rows and rows of data just to get them.
Here are some points that you can look for in your heatmaps to get some user behavior insight:
1. Are your call-to-action (CTA) buttons getting the clicks they deserve?
As the website owner, you know every nook and cranny of your pages, so your CTA placement may be very obvious to you, but it may not be for your first-time visitors.
If your heatmap shows that there’s more activity elsewhere on the page than on your CTA, you may consider re-arranging your elements or getting rid of some to make it easier for your visitors to convert.
2. Are your visitors scrolling far enough to see the content you want them to see?
You want to communicate a lot to your customers and there’s only so much space above the fold—that’s understandable.
But if your scrollmap indicates that an important piece of your content is practically invisible on the page for the number of users that actually get that far, then you need to consider making some changes.
As we previously mentioned, it’s only natural for a scrollmap to show a gradual decrease in popularity as you go further down the page, but you also have to take note of sudden drops—like the map sharply changing from green to dark blue—which means that a lot of users usually stop scrolling and leave at that point.
If you have a key section below this point, you may want to move it up higher, or alternatively, you can consider the design of the specific part where users stop—it could be a breaker that looks like the end of the page, or a prematurely placed CTA that you can transfer further down.
3. Are users trying to click on non-clickable elements?
(A Crazy Egg heatmap for our Magento landing page)
In our Magento page, the headline “Magento optimization and debugging” seemed to get clicks a lot despite it not being a link.
This observation lends to different assumptions—that the headline design may look like a link to users, that users are expecting for us to have a dedicated page about the topic, or (since this is in an accordion layout) users might simply be trying to close the tab.
If you’re seeing clicks on a non-clickable element on your page, you may consider re-evaluating the design or capitalizing on the interest and making it a link to a relevant landing page.
Even at a glance, you can already make some assumptions from a heatmap that you can use as a basis for further refining and improving your design and content.
But “assumptions” is a key word here, because as useful as they are, heatmaps are not the gospel—they don’t offer straight facts about your users apart from where they’re clicking or how far they’re scrolling.
For example, heatmaps can’t really tell you if the clicks you got on your “Contact Us” button are from users who were undecided when they first came to your website or from users who visited your page already intending to send you an inquiry—which makes a world of difference to the context of your data.
As such, you should look at your heatmaps as a starting point—a guide for you to make design changes and test them until you achieve the performance goal you’ve set.
A heatmap is a representation of aggregated user data, thus it enables you to see the big picture of which parts of your website page attract users’ attention and which ones get ignored for the most part.
But the big picture is still composed of tiny parts that are worth looking into, so in the next article, we’ll talk about session recordings—where we move away from the aggregate and drill down to see what we can learn from users on the individual level.