What are Heatmaps and How Can They Improve Your Website?

Jan 14, 2021 | Web Design

Heatmaps can help you refine your website and boost engagement, but how do they work? We demystify the basics of this popular web design tool.


Considering that a picture is worth a thousand words, a heatmap is one of the most useful tools available today for understanding how users and customers view and use your website. But what is a heatmap, and how can it help your business reach its specific digital goals?

At its simplest, a heatmap is a visual representation of data that uses hotter colors to represent larger values or magnitudes, and cooler colors to represent smaller values. They’re used in a wide range of fields from geography to molecular biology; when it comes to web design, we use heatmaps to visualize a user’s behavior on a webpage or site.

3 Types of Heatmapping 

The process of creating one is called heatmapping, and it’s typically done by working with an behavioral analytics service such as Crazy Egg or Hotjar (which is what we use at Informatics).
Heatmaps in the web design world come in three main styles:

  • Click maps, which show where users click on your webpage, from the most clicked areas or buttons (deep red) to the least (deep blue).
  • Scroll maps, which show what percentage of users make it down to a certain section of your page.
  • Move/hover maps, which show the location and movement of a user’s mouse as they navigate a page. These can act as a rough proxy for the user’s eye, and reveal areas of greater or lesser interest on your webpage.

Of course, you could gather all this information by crunching session data captured by platforms like Google Analytics, but the beauty of heatmapping is that it offers highly visual insights that can reveal challenges and solutions faster than quantitative methods alone.

Are users ignoring your call to action, becoming confused or dropping off before seeing important content below the fold? Heatmaps can show where users are clicking or moving, and potentially suggest areas for improvement, whether that means changing a button or an entire section. They can also be combined with other feedback tools like A/B testing or on-site surveys to develop even deeper insights and more efficient websites, ultimately improving your company’s digital presence and bottom line.

If you’re interested in using heatmapping to solve tricky problems with your website, or maybe just have a few quick questions, feel free to reach out to the digital marketing experts at Informatics!

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