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Why Your Business Needs Visual Analytics Tools 22 May 2015 | Piotr Kuźniewicz

If your business is focused on understanding the user behavior effectively, then the chances are that you’ve heard about visual analytics tools. You may know that it is a must for your website, but you may not know why.

There is no doubt that if traditional analytics didn’t exist, businesses wouldn’t be able to collect the data needed for their websites. They are numbers, and numbers can indicate you where you did a mistake or which area of your webpage needs more improvement for better conversion. However, they are only raw numbers that allow you to understand only what is going wrong. The question of paramount importance is “why are things going wrong?” That question was ignored so far, since people didn’t understand the benefits of using visual analytics tools.

Why traditional analytics can’t work alone

The answer is simple: because people shoot blinds when they rely only on numbers.  80% of websites using any kind of analytics use Google Analytics. However, most businesses perceive it as a determinant of their problems and solution in one.  Given this, they will make decisions based on a gut feeling or by using wrong metrics.

People don’t get analytics.

They perceive it as a simple tool to gather metrics and information. It’s not that easy; everybody has data and information, and the problem is that nobody has a clue what is the reason for having such numbers in their tables. Therefore, all too often they make wrong decisions and as a result, they implement bad changes. Traditional analytics is like a transition between pages, while visual analytics tools focus on what happens within the pages themselves.

Visual Analytics Tools 1

So what is the benefit of using visual analytics tools along with traditional tools?

Use visual analytics tools to reveal the ‘why’

Above all, they give you knowledge, the ability to make right decisions, and to implement beneficiary changes to your website. To understand your users, you have to walk in their shoes for some time. However, it is impossible to ask each user about your page and ask him for ideas on improving it.

Fortunately, today’s technology blesses us with tools for visual analytics that will make your data understandable and will help you make your users’ lives easier. In the next section, I will show you three essential “toys”, so that you could feel like your customers.

Understand how visitors see your website

The first tool is called Click Tracking. It allows you to see what the areas of interest of your visitors are by creating heat maps. A heat map is a two-dimensional representation of data in which values are represented by colours. A simple heat map provides an immediate visual summary of information.

Visual Analytics Tools heatmaps

Heat maps are most useful for tracking users clicks (Source: UsabiltiyTools)

The tool is in fact nothing innovative, since heat maps are created e.g. for presidential elections, so that the citizens would know which state won an election. However, they made a true revolution in E-commerce, as they are invaluable in improving conversion. The case study conducted by UsabilityTools has revealed that heat map analysis helps in simplifying a website’s design, making it user-friendly.  According to the study, by simply replacing the “Start” button, the website improved its conversion by 122%.

Many B2B pages place their Call to Action buttons on the very bottom of the content. It may sound like a truism to you, but you can’t click what you can see; therefore, if they see valuable information, they won’t feel the need to scroll the page down to find the CTA button. This will make the area ‘cold’ on your heat map. You can stick it to the window, so that it will be visible all the time.

Heat maps are truly one of the best tools to walk in your users shoes. Now, imagine that you have an online shop and there is low conversion on your product page and high shopping cart abandonment? What will you do?

Consider testing your web forms

I recommend you testing out your web forms. Form testing tools help you gather a complete data report that allows you to evaluate the web form and identify areas that need instant improvement. Metrics that you collect can easily tell which fields of the web form cause the biggest trouble and which make your visitors leave the website before completing the form.

If you use traditional analytics alone as an eCommerce owner, you will be able to see the bounce rate on your check out page, but you won’t understand the reason behind it. The benefits of using visual analytics tools are obvious: you will see what elements of your form cause the dropout of visitors.

There’s a lot of time-consuming details that you have to write in a forms before you make your order, e.g. ID, Skype/phone number, email address etc. Form analytics allows you to determine what elements of your form cause most dropouts and how much time users spend in each field.

By detecting such flaws and eliminating them from your form, you will make it more accessible and improve conversion on it. Having said that, I would like to give you another reason to implement visual analytics tools, no less important.

Walk in your users shoes

Visitor recording is the ability to replay a visitor’s journey on a web site or within a web application. Replay can include the user’s view, user input, and logs of network events or console. In short, it makes you see your users’ steps. You will see how much time they spent in each section of your website, what elements they found most attractive, and what caused them trouble.

Visual Analytics Tools VR

See your users journey with Visitor Recording (source: UsabilityTools)

Why is it so important to use visual analytics tools

Imagine that your company makes cars. As you know, many drivers have different needs and the key to fulfil them is to understand their preferences. Otherwise you will put everyone in the same box, it’s like talking apples and oranges. As a result, you will produce one type of a car, which will fit some people, but there will be a huge margin of those who are unsatisfied with your product, and you won’t know why.

See the relationship? It perfectly reflects the benefits of using visual analytics tools.

To sum it up

As you can see, you will benefit from visual analytics tools in various ways: you will find out how users click and scroll (and why they aren’t), identify and fix usability issues, see which features are working, spot bugs as they happened, and see how users experience your website. Moreover, visual insights lead to better A/B tests, which is of the essence in terms of conversion rate optimization. Now that you know what the benefits of using visual analytics tools are, you may start using it to make your life easier.

If you have any experience in using one, let us know in the comment section, so we may learn from you. Because, you know, visual analytics are all about learning.

We also created a presentation for you! Check it out below.

Piotr Kuźniewicz

Written by Piotr Kuźniewicz

An armchair enthusiast turned gym freak with the passion for writing. In his free time he does stand-up comedy to show people what drives him mad. As a blogger and writing passionate, he fell in love with content marketing, for which he is responsible at UsabilityTools.

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