Usability Archive

January 29, 2007

clickdensity first impressions

@ 9:01 PM

At the PSF event last week the guys from Flintshire mentioned that they'd had a free trial of clickdensity (external link), the click tracking service from Box UK (external link) which launched last year. I remembered receiving some marketing from them recently, but hadn't followed it up.

I've been planning a front page redesign of ClacksWeb for a long time now, and needed some reliable information about how people are using the existing page. Server logs provide plenty of data, but there's nothing like visualisation for solidifying stats, so last week I signed us up at work for a builder account. 10 quid a month, it records up to 45,000 clicks across one site.

Heatmap of ClacksWeb front pageHere's a sample heatmap from the front page. This shows the clicks made on browsers running at 1024x768. One important note - I took this screen from Firefox, and most of the clicks would have come from IE, hence the slight offset in many of the click locations. Addendum - just found out that I could have used a setting to anchor clicks relative to the object clicked on, thus elimnating any offset or any background noise (e.g. clicks to re-gain focus).

The obvious things are, well, obvious - lots of people search, using both the site search and the postcode finder. Documents & publications and jobs are the two permanent features that get a good level of clicks, while 3 of the 13 main site sections are clearly more popular than the others (Education & Learning, Housing, Planning & Property). The main features block attracts good levels of traffic.

The downside is equally obvious. The graphical buttons get almost zero clicks. They need to go. No-one knows what MyClacksWeb is. The site map isn't a common destination from the front page.

This provides a heap of evidence to back up things that we already knew, or had suspicions about, and will be a real asset when we reassess how the front page should be set up. I'm hoping to find the time to get the work done by the end of February, and clickdensity will help us assess how successful the realignment is. It's a very cool service and can do a whole lot more than just heatmaps. If you're even vaguely interested head over there and sign up for a free account. I'll post more here when the time comes, together with some more heat maps from some online services.

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October 18, 2005

World Usability Day

@ 12:51 PM

World Usability Day logo3rd November 2005 is World Usability Day (External link) and to mark the occasion the Scottish UPA is running a Scottish Usability Showcase (External link) in Edinburgh. It's a series of short, 15 minute presentations, and I'll be speaking about my experiences redeveloping ClacksWeb using web standards, and the process of trying to build in accessibility and usability.

If you're in or around Edinburgh why not come along? In my experience SUPA events are always interesting, and cheap - free for members, and a tenner for non-members (a fiver for students). Bargain.

Update: SUPA have just announced that to celebrate WUD this event is now free of charge. So you've got no excuse for not coming along.

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