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Heat map

Data visualization technique that allows aggregated analysis of how users behave and interact with a page. The main feature is that it shows in darker or lighter tones the attention each element of the web has received.

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How a heatmap works

Traditionally, the colour used to highlight the most attention-grabbing elements is red, and it gradually shifts to green for elements that are glanced at but not considered relevant enough, leaving elements that receive no attention in white.

A heatmap reflects where the user looks when a device is used to track the movement of their eyes (eye tracking). This way, you can know what interests them, such as images, menus, or buttons. Patterns of behaviour and reading are identified, allowing for improvements to align more closely with business goals.

Mouse movements can also be recorded to identify user actions, such as scrolling or where they click, using specific programs like Hotjar. Individual visits are recorded and aggregated results are displayed in a graph for easy interpretation.

These maps can also be created for mobile devices to better understand where users tap or how they navigate the screen since their behaviour differs from that of a desktop computer.

Purpose of a heatmap

Knowing the hotspots of a website allows for the analysis of its usability to improve the user experience and, ultimately, increase conversion. Since it is based on data obtained from real users, optimization is more likely to succeed. By presenting this information visually, it becomes easy to identify what needs to be changed.

For example, a heatmap can be used to check if the distribution of elements facilitates navigation, if images guide users to key points, if a banner doesn't attract enough attention and, therefore, clicks, if the "Add to Cart" button in an online store goes unnoticed, resulting in fewer purchases after a design change, or if the form on a landing page is too low, and few users scroll down to see it.