Usability Metrics Redux

There are a number of more thoughts about Heatmaps and Clickmap technology.  I was reading Avinash’s latest blog post and stumbled across the new Google Analytics “In Page Analytics”.  Wow, click maps right there!  Very cool.  This shows the clicks on my other web site and can give me some insight into where people are clicking.  The good part is the “below the fold” orange bar that shows only 10% of people are scrolling down and clicking.  This is very useful and more helpful than the pretty heat maps out there.


In my summary over the past month, these are the observations that I have with the whole click and heat map world.

  • Heatmaps are focused on pages. They are not process or session based and do not focus as much on objectives (“Did they convert”?) Still, in some cases,  mainly experimental, I can leverage them for a short term project. In most blog purposes, heatmaps are not that useful. 
  • Scalability is tricky.  Few click maps can handle large loads so they sample your customers. This is okay, but still, full analytic tools like GA or Tealeaf give more useful data. 
  • Mouse tracking cool, but why? I just can’t get my brain around it,  but do I really need to see all the mouse-over or follow the mouse replays?  Wouldn’t a click map tell me more useful and quantitative stuff
  • Click map replay. It is interesting, but how to you identify which one you want to view?  There are sites that allow you to replay your clicks and mouse events, but how do you select them? Randomly?  If you want replay, use Tealeaf or Coradiant that allow you to search, select and then replay end user sessions.
  • Got AJAX? Well, none of this technology really works with dynamic sites yet.  They rely on static pages or slowly moving pages.  So blogs and content sites are fine, but if I’m selling or providing news, not so sure this will be valuable.

While heat and click maps are pretty cool, I think using conversion tools like web analytics or Tealeaf to determine pages of interest, perhaps a heat map or two then.  But then using A/B testing will be more useful. Which page will increase conversion or acquire more customers?