What Heat Maps Tell Us About Web Design

Heat maps are a great tool to use when you want to learn more about your website visitors. They will help you see where people click on the page, where they scroll, and how long they stay on the site.

In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the different types of heat maps out there and what they can tell us about our web design.


What are Heat Maps?

In web design, heat maps are often used to visualize the most popular or frequently used elements on a page.

For example, a heat map might be used to show which parts of a page get the most clicks, or the most attention from visitors. The intention of heat maps is to provide a visual representation of data that is easy to understand and can help web designers learn how users interact with the website.

Heat maps can be generated using a variety of tools and services. We often rely on HotJar for heat maps, but there are many other options we’ll discuss briefly, below.

Heat Map on WebCitz Website

How Heat Maps Help in the Web Design Process

Heat maps can be useful for web designers in a number of ways. Some of the ways that heat maps can help in the web design process include:

1.) Identifying Patterns in User Behavior

By visualizing how users interact with a website’s design, heat maps can help designers identify patterns in user behavior. This can be particularly useful for identifying areas of a page that are frequently used or ignored.

2.) Improving the User Experience (UX)

By understanding how visitors interact with a website layout, designers can make changes to the layout, content, or other elements of the page to improve the user experience.

As an example, if a heat map shows users are not scrolling to find useful information, it might lead to rearranging the content to allow visitors to see more important areas above the fold.

3.) Identifying Problems on a Page

Heat maps can help website designers identify problems with a page that may not be obvious.

For example, if a heat map shows that visitors are clicking on something that isn’t linked it might lead to discovering a confusing area of the content or design.

4.) Optimizing Conversion Rates

By understanding how users interact with a website layout, designers can optimize the page to improve conversion rates. This is particularly helpful in website redesign projects, since the main reason for the design change is often to produce better results.

For instance, if a heat map shows that visitors are not clicking on a particular call-to-action button, the web designer may want to make changes to the button (such as its color, location, or animation) to make it more prominent and increase the likelihood that users will interact with it.


The Types of Heat Maps

There are many different heat maps out there. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common ones:

1.) Click maps

Click maps, also known as click heat maps, are graphic representations of data that show where visitors click on a website. Like heat maps, click maps use colors to represent the clicking actions, with areas of the page that get more clicks appearing in a darker color. In fact, they are often used in conjunction with heat maps to provide a more complete picture of how users interact with a webpage.

Click maps can be useful for web designers because they can help identify which parts of the page are getting the most attention from visitors. As an example, if a click map shows site visitors are clicking on a particular link or button more frequently than other elements on the web page, the designer may want to make those other elements more prominent.

These click maps can also help web designers identify issues with a website, such as links that are difficult to find or buttons that are not clearly labeled.

2.) Scroll maps

Scroll maps, also known as scroll heat maps, are visual representations of data that show how far down a website visitors are scrolling. Like heat maps and click maps, scroll maps use colors to represent the scrolling, with areas of the page that are viewed more frequently appearing in a darker color. These types of heat maps can be useful for web designers because they can help identify areas of a page that are losing the attention of readers, resulting in less scrolling.

If a scroll map shows that visitors are not scrolling far down on a page, the web designer may want to consider moving important content higher up on the page so it is more visible to users. Alternatively, more boring sections of content may need to be “dressed up” to be more engaging to the visitors.

3.) Mouse maps

Mouse maps, also known as movement heat maps, are visual depictions of data that show the movements of a mouse cursor on a webpage. Like other types of heat maps, mouse maps use colors to represent the data, with areas of the page that are interacted with more frequently appearing in a darker color. The idea behind a mouse map is that a person’s eyes are usually near the cursor. This type of heat map can be useful for web designers in understanding how users are interacting with the content on a page.

For example, if a mouse map shows that visitors are hovering over a particular section of a web page for an extended period of time, the designer may want to consider adding additional information or interactive elements to other areas to keep readers engaged.


FAQs

Do heat maps work on mobile phones?

Yes, heat maps can work on mobile devices. Many heat map tools (like HotJar) are designed to work on both desktop and mobile devices, so it is possible to generate heat maps for pages that are viewed on any device.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the way visitors interact with a website on mobile versus desktop is going to be different. This may lead to variances in how heat map reports look and feel through various services.

For instance, users may be more likely to scroll down a webpage on a mobile device than on a desktop computer. Likewise, they may be more likely to use their finger to interact with elements on the page.

As a result, heat maps for mobile sites often look different than heat maps for desktop traffic. It is also worth noting that some heat map tools may have difficulty tracking user interactions on mobile devices due to technical limitations or privacy concerns.

Related Post: Examples of Great Mobile Websites

Do I need special software to use heat maps in my business?

There are many third-party tools available for generating heat maps. Some of the options include:

  1. Crazy Egg: This is a popular heat map tool that allows users to generate heat maps, scroll maps, and confetti maps (which show where users are clicking on a page) for their websites. Crazy Egg also offers a range of web analytics and A/B testing features.
  2. Hotjar: Here is another popular heat map tool that offers a range of features, including heat maps, scroll maps, and recordings of user sessions. Hotjar also provides a range of analytics and feedback tools.
  3. Mouseflow: This heat map tool offers a range of similar features to the others, including heat maps, scroll maps, and recordings of user sessions. Mouseflow also provides a range of analytics and optimization tools.

There are many other heat map tools available, so it is worth doing some research to find the one that best meets your needs.


Final Thoughts on Heat Map Usage within Web Design

In conclusion, heat maps are a great way to see how visitors interact with your website, whether it’s by clicking on certain elements or scrolling down the page. Each type of heat map has its own purpose and can help you find out what content is most engaging for users, which areas they’re drawn to the most (or least), and much more!


Disclaimer: WebCitz, LLC does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the information found on this page or on any web sites linked to from this page. This blog article was written by Timothy A in his or her personal capacity. The opinion(s) expressed in this article are the author's own and may not reflect the opinion(s) of WebCitz, LLC.