PBS Parents, a popular parenting advice site, has been using Crazy Egg heatmaps and reports to complement Google Analytics data to tell it how people are interacting with its content. Why is this?

A traditional web analytics program (such as Google Analytics) can tell you what pages visitors are going to and even navigation paths, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

Crazy Egg’s Heatmap tool gives you a picture (literally) that tells site owners where on the page people are clicking (even if the elements visitors are clicking on aren’t actually hyperlinks!). There’s no need to double check; Google Analytics can’t reveal this type of information.

But you know what else? A heatmap can give you insights into the following:

Whether your calls to action are clear enough Which content your users are most interested in Whether your design effectively guides users to the content you want them to see Which ad placements are most likely to attract clicks Where people are clicking unsuccessfully (i.e., clicks on non-hyperlinked portions of the page) What design elements you should keep in a redesign, and which ones you should get rid of

Recently, PBS Parents used Crazy Egg to pinpoint the areas of its new homepage its audience found most compelling.

Read on to see how the PBS Parents team is using Crazy Egg:

Q: What information were you hoping to get from Crazy Egg that you couldn’t get from Google Analytics?

A: We wanted to determine how users would respond to the new homepage and elements within the homepage. We wanted answers to the following questions: Are users using the scroll buttons on the carousel? Do they understand the tabs on the Parenting Tools? Are they scrolling to see content at the bottom of the page? What content are users clicking on?

Q: What was the most interesting thing you learned about your users’ behavior from the reports?

A: We found that users clicked on images and text, and so we need to make sure that we are consistent in linking images in order to get a consistent user experience.

Here are some other ideas for using Crazy Egg to help you make decisions:

Apply Crazy Egg to your A/B or multivariate tests to “see” how users are interpreting your page. See what design elements cause people to click. See what content/text causes people to click. Use real-time data to make editorial decisions on the fly. Get a baseline for your click patterns before you redesign a page (for comparison purposes). See what kinds of visitors are more likely to take certain actions (using “confetti view” to segment traffic).

Here are some of PBS Parents’ thoughts on using Crazy Egg effectively:

Understand what questions you want the report to answer. Make time to actually look at the results and commit to implementing (and re-testing) changes. Be careful about over-extrapolating conclusions. The reports tell you what people are clicking on, but not necessarily why. When making changes to a page, stop your existing test and start a new one, or the report will just lump pre- and post-design results together. (The same advice applies if you’re testing content placement.) Check out the different kinds of reports offered by Crazy Egg (there’s more to it than just heatmaps). Use Crazy Egg in conjunction with your web analytics tool to make sure that your adjustments are positively impacting your overall goals and KPIs.