How much energy are you investing into understanding user behavior on your website? Making a conscious effort to observe and analyze user behavior will identify where people click on your site, how far they scroll the page, where they spend time, and where they leave your site.

User Behavior Analysis Tactics

There are a number of tactics that can be deployed to research the users visiting your site. Today, we’ll focus on these four:

  • Screen Recordings
  • On-Site Surveys
  • Listening Labs
  • Heat Maps

Screen Recordings are About Perspective

Screen Recordings are an over-the-shoulder look at a user’s behavior—watching mouse movements, clicks, and scrolling. It’s the closest thing to seeing your site through a their eyes. From screen recordings, you will be able to collect information about unclear or problematic areas of your customer’s experience with your site. Also, screen recordings will inform you and your team about how users are navigating your site. What buttons do they click? Is the search feature returning the correct results? How long does it take for a user to complete an action?

On-Site Surveys Dig Deeper

An On-Site Survey is a three or four-question survey that collects specific information from users. Surveys usually appear in a small screen near the bottom of the page, and request participation from the site user. The site user can opt-out, or fulfill the survey. Questions are often multiple choice, though open-ended and closed-ended questions are also used, and some surveys utilize rankings or ratings. Depending on the set of questions, on-site surveys can inform you about how a user came to your site, whether they found what they were looking for, whether the product terminology is clear and understandable, errors that need fixing, and surveys can show your customers you care.

Listening Labs are Excavators of User Behavior

Listening Labs allow us to have one-on-one conversations, or interviews, with actual site users. Typically, an appointment is scheduled to screenshare through an online video platform. After a brief introduction to the process from the site administrator to the site user, the administrator proceeds to ask questions, record answers, and observe the user’s behavior and navigation while on the site. Listening Labs allow administrators to dig deeper into why users do or do not use sections of the website, or how users prefer to navigate. Being able to ask for clarify, or explanation of user behavior sets apart Listening Labs from the rest of the tactics, though it is more complicated to facilitate.

Heat Maps Reveal Where the User Looks

Heat Maps reveal where a user’s attention is going on the webpage through clicks, scrolling, and other interactions. There are a number of different types of heat maps, including click maps, scroll maps, and move maps. Each type of map reveals slightly different information about your site. For click maps, you will see the location of clicks—on buttons, links, views, etc. On scroll maps, you’ll be able to tell how far down the page a user scrolled, or where they paused scrolling. With move maps, you’re able to tell the location of the mouse movement on the screen. Since there is some research indicating that mouse movement follows eye movement for users, you can surmise that mouse movement indicates where users are looking or reading on the page. Heat maps can tell the site owner which calls-to-action are most clicked, what information on the page is skimmed or skipped, and if a user is being distracted from the main focus of the page.

Once you’ve administered these or other tactics for researching user behavior, analyze the results and make a list of action steps to take to improve your site.

At SHERPA, we are intentional with every website project to research and analyze user behavior before addressing any errors or enhancements with client websites. Our findings inform features and functional requirements specific to each client. Contact us and let SHERPA guide your next website project!

Jennifer Wilder

Jennifer Wilder

Jennifer is a writer, editor, and content manager with over 25 years of experience spanning publishing, public relations, and digital marketing. Through her creative pursuits, she has worked with Rinnai America, Truck Accessories Group, The reThink Group, LifeWay Christian Resources, and John Maxwell Company. When not working with words, she's making all-the-memories with her husband, Nathan, son, Tucker, and Labrador Retriever, Copper.

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