Recently, we tested a free heat mapping app on our own website. We got some awesome results! We found so much value in utilizing heat mapping software that we created a client package specifically for usability optimization. We’ve listed some free tools for heat mapping at the bottom of this blog.
Here’s some of what we found during our research:
You can learn how far your users scroll
Often, when a user is interested in the content on your page, they will scroll down to retrieve the information they are seeking. A good heat mapping software will show how far users scroll down your page, so that you know where to place information.
When we tested this on our own site, we realized that 14% of visitors to our blog’s main page actually scrolled further. As a blog, this isn’t something to read into: our user’s are likely searching for the most recent content. On inner blog pages, we’re able to see whether users are reading the entire blog. It’s also extremely useful to note on a landing page, or any page where a CTA (Call to Action) is below the fold.
Track where your users are Clicking
This is my personal favourite reason to use heat mapping. In your navigation, you can view the most popular areas to click, and change the verbiage or links accordingly. On a blog, you can see exactly how far your user is reading, and whether they’re clicking the inner-blog links.
This is also a no-brainer when it comes to landing pages. This image, a screenshot from SumoMe, shows how improving your landing page can have an awesome impact.
See how people navigate your page
Back in 2006, the Nielsen Norman Group proved that users view sites in an “F” pattern. This hasn’t changed. Depending on the software that you use, you can set up user testing to see where your users are looking. The summary is simple, though: Users look across the top of the page first. Then, their eyes browse mainly down the left side. If they see something they like what they see in the headers on the left, they’ll continue reading.
Really, the only change from the Nielsen Norman Group study, is that we’ve now encountered Banner Blindness: areas of a site that commonly contain ads, so we’ve and web surfers have learned to tune them out.
Test whether a Call-to-Action (CTA) is effective
This pertains directly to that banner blindness phenomenon. If your user has tuned out ads, commonly located down the right side of a webpage, chances are their they’re not going to notice navigation choices or a call-to-action located there down the right side, either. Rearranging the order of your webpage to suit viewers preferences can be a simple, effective way to entice users them to click and follow your call to action or provide information.
Stop users from clicking where they shouldn’t click
Discover what users are clicking on and give them content that satisfies their curiosity.
Without heat mapping, we’d never have realized that our users clicked on statistics. They clicked on a statistic that states businesses receive “95% more leads for companies with active blogs.” There was no button there, but visitors wanted to know more about that. We discovered something important about their buying journey —- they wanted leads.
That’s a quote from Content+ (now called Axonn).
How does that effect how your site is built? Well, imagine this: you have what you think is an obvious call-to-action right on the top of your webpage. Instead, thanks to a heat map, we realized that users were paying less attention to our call to action. are clicking on a bold and colourful, no-link image, which is taking their attention away from the CTA. The solution is to change the image that people are clicking on, or move the CTA so that it demands more attention. For us, maybe we should take out those statistics. More likely, we’ll just link them to open in a new tab.
Learn which images work best
How can seeing where people click help you determine which image to use? These fairly famous images that we’ve borrowed from
Neuro Science Marketing answers that question:
The image on the left shows the baby facing the user. The baby’s face is bright red, which indicates that people were fixated on it. The image on the right has the baby facing rightward toward the content. This appears to encourage visitors to look at the text content. Images can amplify the copy or reduce attention to it. The baby’s face is still red, but now you can see that more users viewed the Header and content for a longer period of time. You can make this work with clicks, too. Images facing your CTA will guide users to click there. If an image is being clicked that isn’t meant to, then you need to change the image (or the location) in order for your page to guide the user effectively.
A/B Testing is when two subtly-different versions of a site are shown to users. One item is changed. From there, you track which version retrieves the most leads, keeps the user’s attention for longer, or gets the user to click. This is especially handy for landing pages and ads (a process called conversion optimization). A heat map on this will allow you to view where your user is clicking, and show you can see which version is more effective.
It’s not expensive!
No excuses here. If you’re on WordPress, SumoMe – the plugin we utilized – is a free plug-in option (with paid features) that you can use to test your site. The following sites also are all paid, but offer a free trial:
If you want a hands-free solution to getting this information, get in touch. We’ll provide you a run-down on our services options, and a friendly quote from Jen, our Director of Client Services.