In our ongoing quest to improve conversion rates we recently went into a little detail on how we hold our own work accountable and make sure they work hard to bring business through your door.
Today we’re going to look at one of our other favourite techniques, heat mapping and how we use it to back up the theory of our designs – for example our theory which we covered in The Blur Technique not so long ago.
Exploring Heat Maps
Heat maps are one of the more well known usability techniques seen across the internet – what you do in an ideal situation is track the users eyes as they explore the website so we can get a sense of what elements are grabbing their attention and what the user then does as a result.
Those tests are effective, but need to be carried out in a controlled environment so you can track the users eyes and they can get quite expensive as a result.
A great alternative which we have been using for a while now is to track the mouse cursor, which gives us a real sense of where the user is reading.
By following a users journey through our website we’ve been able to find some really interesting things and confirm that our techniques are actually working.
What We’ve Found
Tracking and getting hold of data is important, but ultimately not hugely helpful if you don’t do anything with the data you get back.
Fortunately we’ve been testing the performance of our websites for a long time and over hundreds of them now, and then we’ve been tweaking our designs and how we develop our websites over the past 2 years.
The good news is users do scroll now, where there was research a few years ago to show you needed to get all of the important information within the fold (basically the top of the website) the latest experiments and research show that users do scroll down a website.
Users do actually read from left to right through a website though, and typically scan the navigation along the top of a website. We make use of that by adding in a consult button at the top.
They then look at the image at the top (which is why we take care over image choice) and finally continue to read down the website.
Users mostly read headings rather than all the text, we’ll put up a post about that soon too.
Hope you enjoyed the little bit of insight into how we do things!