We’ve recently discovered a new tool for understanding how customers are using a website. It’s called HotJar. It makes available some cool tools for seeing exactly how users are engaging with your website.
In particular I love the heatmap function which allows you to see exactly where users are moving their mouse and clicking as they navigate through your site. This technology has been available previously with more expensive products and thus has typically been used by businesses that run large scale eCommerce sites with significant revenue streams. But HotJar’s trial structure (and free account for private websites) mean that there’s little excuse now for not tapping into this data when attempting to understand how your customers are interacting with your site and what users are doing when they get there.
Another tool in the HotJar product is a recording feature that actually records user sessions as a video, so you can build on the insights from the heat-mapping tool. Recordings of user sessions provide the ability to virtually look over your visitors shoulder as they visit your site, seeing where they click, how quickly they scroll and where they focus their attention. This is pretty amazing functionality, as previously user testing was a relatively time consuming and expensive proposition where users would be recruited, given an incentive (i.e. a gift card for their time) and invited in to physically sit in front of a computer and be observed by someone (i.e. a User Experience researcher) who would record notes about how the user interacted with the site.
HotJar’s video recordings, mean you can get the benefits of user research without the expense of recruiting users or setting up an environment where they can come in and test your site. I would argue that the results are also more valuable as the observation effect of the user knowing that they’re being watched is ameliorated.
The upshot of all this is that small business owners now have access to user research tools that previously were typically only available to larger businesses with big budgets for website research and development.
Want to understand how your website visitors are interacting with your site? We can install and configure HotJar for you and advise on the information received and how this can be used to improve your website’s user experience.