Simple Methods to Optimize Your Website User Experience (UX) with Hotjar

There are many low-cost tools for assessing your website and helping determine where visitors may be confused as they try to complete their task. One of my favorites is Hotjar. Hotjar is a relatively new tool that allows marketers to run surveys, collect heat map and scroll map data, as well as watch recordings of actual site visitors. Here’s a quick review of what you’ll be able to discover using Hotjar’s toolset.

Heat Maps

Heat Maps are a simple way to get an overall view of how users are interacting with your page. You’ll be able to see what visitors are clicking on, and more importantly, what they are not clicking on.

Scroll Maps

Scroll maps are a way to understand aggregate visitor scroll depth. Are visitors not seeing important calls-to-action that are lower on the page? Scroll maps will help answer this question

Exit Surveys

Exit surveys use a technology to engage the visitor just before they abandon your site. They are a great way to measure overall task completions rate (the % of visitors that were able to complete the goal of their visit) and offer valuable qualitative feedback from your site visitors. 

Page-Level Surveys

A page-level survey allows you to uncover friction points related to a specific page on your site. These are perfect for your email marketing and social media campaign landing pages.

Visitor Recordings

Visitor recordings allow you to watch actual site visitors work to complete their task. You can even focus recordings on specific areas of your site like the checkout funnel, a form, or any type of special widget like a savings calculator. The recordings trace the user’s mouse so you can see its entire path across the page in question (see below example). With a little practice, it becomes easy to identify visitors that are frustrated and not able to find what they are looking for. This information can provide clues on areas of improvement, especially as it relates to site navigation.

User Testing

Another low-cost method for site optimization is user testing. There are several low-cost service providers for user testing, but perhaps the best known is . For a small fee per test, you can watch and listen to testers as they perform specific pre-defined tasks. If a tester is running into difficulty or is confused about how to complete a task, they will verbalize this in the captured audio.

Here are a few tips to consider when setting up your user tests:

1. Create a short and focused test script – It’s very common to want to create many tasks for the tester, but too many tasks will be overwhelming. Instead, focus on 3-4 tasks that are critical for your business. If you are an e-commerce company, have the tester find a very specific item and then proceed through checkout all the way up to the step where they are asked to enter a credit card. If your focus is lead generation, create tasks centered around the registration process.
2. Pick a testing platform – There are many 3rd-party testing platforms available, including TryMyUI and If you prefer to let us to the heavy lifting, we’ll write your test script and then set up your tests using the platform most appropriate to your situation.

3. Create two buckets of five testers each – For your first user testing experience, we recommend setting up 5 testers for desktop and another 5 testers for mobile. The tasks you create should be the same for both mobile and desktop. Segmenting your testers this way will help you uncover friction points that may be more severe on mobile than desktop (or vice versa).

Most user testing tools will provide you with an interface that allows you to control the playability of the testing video while also allowing you to annotate your notes. The below screenshot from TryMyUI shows a testing video with an annotation screen to the right allowing the viewer to make comments as they watch the video.

Final Thoughts

There will never be one single source of data that will provide all the information you need to optimize your website. However, by bringing in several data points in the form of heat maps, scroll maps, exit and page-level surveys and user testing, you’ll start getting a much deeper understanding of where visitors are getting confused and tripped up on your site. If you find your marketing team just doesn’t have the bandwidth for this type of analysis, give us a call. We’ll set-up all the analytics and provide you with a prioritized report of recommendations based on the problem areas we uncover.

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