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Using Heat Maps to Improve Web Site Usability – Which Tool is Best?

Posted on Monday, May 17th, 2010 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Analytics, Consumer Experience, Featured

There is no doubt in the value of a heatmap report for online usability testing. Everyone wants to see a visual representation of where people clicked on their site in order to make changes that matter. But there are a ton of tools out there.  Which one is best? Which one gives you more for your buck? And how user friendly is it to use?

In an effort to answer all of these questions, I’ve create a comparison chart with two leading heatmaping tools: Clicktale and Crazyegg.

Tracking Capabilities Main tracking mecanisim: The Confetti. This tool provides user details for each click on a page through a visual dot that represents a user click. 

Clicks are tracked on a single page only.

Tracks user keystrokes, mouse clicks and the time it takes for users to move around a web page. 

There is no permanent access to recordings.

Heatmap capabilities Heatmaps popular locations of clicks on a page, lists and overlays. The heatmap display red hot zones where most users spend longer periods, and blue or cold areas where users spend the least amount of time.
Analytics/Reporting Reporting features include: 

– the location of the click on the page,

– referrer information including search terms

– operating system

– day and time of visit

Reporting features include: 

– time of field completion

– the number of entries

– which form fields have the highest abandonments

– which form fields  take the longest to complete

– which form fields have the most back-tracks due to errors or confusion.

Implementation Easy to set up. Uses JavaScript which you place on each page you wish to have tracking on. Easy to set up. Uses JavaScript which you place on each page you wish to have tracking on.
Pricing Priced on a monthly basis: 

$9 per month for the basic plan

$19 per month for their Standard plan

$49 per month for their Plus plan

$99 per month for their Pro plan

As you move up in plans, you increase the number of trackable visits, and you can track more pages.

Priced on a monthly basis: 

Free plan

$99 per month Bronze

$290 per month Silver

$790 per month Gold

Each comes with specific support options, number of pageviews, domains tracked, and recording history time.

The Free plan is very bare-bones and does not, for example, allow playback of all of the pageviews a user visits during a session.

So, which tool is best? Both are fairly competitive but Clicktale offers you more reports than CrazyEgg. Unfortunately, their customer service is not quite as strong as CrazyEgg.  I think both tools are worth trying out for yourself. A small investment ($9/month or free) for improving overall usability for your site.

About Christine Kim

Christine Kim is a Senior Account Manager with the CPO (Conversion Path Optimization) team at The Search Agency, working to help clients optimize their post click activity through a combination of marketing and best practice design tactics. When not hard at work optimizing landing pages for clients, you can bet she’s mulling around the TSA snack room – counting calories!

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5 Responses to “Using Heat Maps to Improve Web Site Usability – Which Tool is Best?”

  1. Guido Tapia says:

    Great article Christine, you should also check out the Mouse Eye Tracking system here (http://www.picnet.com.au/met/), its free plan is very comprehensive compared to the 2 products above. Anyways, good article.

  2. Barbara says:

    Really useful post. Thanks.

  3. You make a great point about this being a small investment for some great visibility into user behavior on your site. For most companies, the $49 a month Crazy Egg product is adequate; this package allows you to store up to 50 tests. If you need to do more, just delete the old ones to make room. A plus is that this product really impresses the C level guys because of its great visual presentation.

  4. sam says:

    I would suggest give Clicktale a try. I’ve been using it for 2 months and it is neat to watch what your users do, I learned a lot.

  5. Very great post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve really loved surfing around your weblog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing in your feed and I’m hoping you write again soon!


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