Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spying on users - a new form of usability testing

There's all sorts of production monitoring tools we've been using, but I recently run into something different I've been looking into tonight. The tool is called Hotjar and a friend introduced it to me as a tool for usability testing. With the tool, you can see for each user in video format their mouse movements and clicks, and can build more fine-grained ways of analyzing when your users lose engagement on your pages.

How much of a spying tool this is became clear to me today as I went and checked for the first time the recorded uses of my personal landing page.

The red line traces the mouse movements. The red dots indicate clicks. I see what devices and browsers my visitors have used, and how long they've stayed.

Following what my users saw I can test different screen sizes and devices with eyes of my users, without setting the environments up myself. Doing this early on (and fixing), I could prune out problems through testing in production, annoying a limited number of users but coping with my limited ability to cover different combinations.

For now, I'm just blown away with this. And needed to share. I reserve my right to change my mind as always, but for now, I'm just excited.