Usability beginners and buffs alike have benefited and continue to cheer on Steve Krug's popular Don't Make Me Think , myself included. However, let's face it; you guys know your business better than anyone else. You know how creating a successful website for a wide range of user types is, well, hard. And, while there's nothing wrong with thinking big and going for a challenge, it's not always necessary. Visitors to your site can often tell you everything you need to know through heat map analytics.
What Is a Heatmap?
Web heatmaps are color, visual representations of your webpages that display where and how visitors interact with your webpages. Depending on the type of heat map you are using, you can discover exactly what your visitors are fishing for, clicking on, hovering over or scrolling towards.
Heat map analytics, as I see them, are the Marco Polo guide of web analytics, instantly pointing you in the right design direction. Find out whether your design is dead on (red) or dead wrong (blue). Pinpoint lukewarm visitor sentiment and heat it up!
Make webpage improvements based on what you discover and instantly test your optimization changes. Move around your call to actions, content, and/or images and see exactly what's working, what's not, what's weak, and what's hot! Check which web page areas get the most visitor attention time.
Heat map analytics differs from traditional web analytics in that they offer you a visual representation of visitor engagement on your site as opposed to a one dimensional quantitative report.
Segment Your Users and Personalize Your Website
Let's say you're wracking your brain trying to figure out if foreign language speaking customers share the same sentiment as your English speaking customers. Easily segment your visitors by language or country and get a unique heat map for the group of visitors you wish to track. See how content in one area of your webpage gets varied responses according to the spoken language/geographical location of your visitors.
Visualize Your Visitors
Even though Mr. Krug offers good advice as to how to optimize usability on our webpages, what we think is a no brainer may differ from what our visitors think. In order to find out if you and your visitors are on the same page, heat map analytics is definitely the easy way to go. However, this is only one visual web analytics tool out of many to help you achieve usability and conversion success. So make your life a little easier, your visitors a little happier and try some out!