Testing with Heat Maps

What’s a heat map?

In testing terms it’s a tool that tells you where people are looking. It measures where on a page a viewer’s eyes are focusing. Lots of attention will lead to a dark red coloring (hot). No attention will show up as a deep blue (cold).

What can you learn from these heat maps?

In short, you can learn what people are looking at when they visit a page on your site or see an ad of yours online. When designing a web page, it’s best to design with a goal in mind. What do you want a visitor to do? What do you want them to see?

The heat map will tell you if the goals are actually being achieved. You can tell if people are looking at the elements on a page that you want them to. And if they are not, the heat map will give you clues on where to make adjustments.

For example, you may learn that people are missing a key call to action, because it’s buried in a corner of the page that is getting skipped over. A skilled designer can redesign the page so that the most important elements are centered in the “hot” areas.

Heat maps are a great tool for marketers, designers, and developers to use in order to create more affective web pages. But they can be expensive to create.

Online tools from CrazyEgg, Heatmap.me, and ClickHeat can help you get started.