Usability Tools are Essential


Usability tools like Clixpy and Clicktale and Userfly allow you to peek over the shoulder of the people who come to your site.

By embedding a few lines of HTML code, you can playback a video ‘capture’ of a single site visit.

I got an odd voyeuristic feeling when I first reviewed the captures. Then you have this moment of zen when you realize ways you can leverage this information to (a) serve your customers better and (b) increase metrics like conversion rates, time on site, bounce rate, the layout of your site and of course the increased revenue from implementing changes.

LEVERAGING USABILITY INFORMATION

The free trial captures alone should make you a believer.

Forms: learn how visitors complete your online forms. Where else can you actually see users complete your online form including backspaces and tabbing through the fields. Love this feature. Is there a form field that takes too long to complete? Now you’ll know. Does the user come to a question and abandon the page? Is a form field causing validation problems or makes them click ‘help’ or the back button on their browser? Do I need to tell you how important this information is?

Landing Pages: analyzing landing pages is a perfect fit for testing usability. Also a great way to minimize burning through captures.

Navigation: see the user going from your Home Page to your About to Articles You’ve Written to the Price Request Page.

Mouse Movements: see the users mouse trail. I found users clicking on things that weren’t links which got me thinking, maybe they should be links.

Above the Fold / Below The Fold: learn from the user scrolling up and down your page.

OVERLAP WITH OTHER ANALYTIC TOOLS

Some of the information you learn is available through site overlays and heat maps but seeing rather than reading a report provides a valuable new dimension.

ONE TOOL AMONG MANY

Usability goes hand in hand with other online tools Google Analytics and CrazyEgg, not a replacement for.

1 SET OF METRICS DATA IS KING

Having one set of site metrics in Google Analytics and another set with Crazyegg and yet another with Userfly (or Clixpy or whomever) leaves you to make the connections between the various pools of data.  Which does happen but the true leverage will come from looking at 1 set of data.

If you can afford $290 a month then Clicktale.com offers a comprehensive set of tools including heat maps, eye tracking, usability captures and analytics in 1 place.

Clixpy and Userfly are solely usability focused as of right now and require you to either purchase captures beforehand or allot a certain number of captures depending on what subscription plan you choose.

UNSOLICITED FEEDBACK SECTION

Filtering: more needs to be done to filter out visitors I don’t want to capture especially for companies on the pay per capture model.  On the positive, they do allow you to filter out your own IP address (shockingly you’re not interested in playing back the capture of the time you visited your own site)

Integration: I realize these companies compete with one another but I do hope they work on allowing the data they capture to integrate with other analytic tools. Can you imagine the power of clicking a completed goal in Google Analytics (somebody who buys your product) and bringing up their usability capture. Or the ability to click Site Overlay in Google Analytics and getting a CrazyEgg heat map and then drilling down to a Userfly usability capture?

Good times ahead. Nobody accused me of thinking small.

Or is a more likely scenario to happen where startups in the space will get bought out and integrated with the more established players?

0 second visits: I wish the usability companies on a pay per capture model didn’t charge me for captures that are 0 seconds in length. I have to say it irks me to pay for learning nothing from a visit.

I love that you can capture sessions across multiple domains.

I love how easy the setup is. How you can cut & paste a few lines of HTML code and get so much information is beyond me.

I do hope I’ve enticed you enough to try usability and apply what you learn to grow your travel company.

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This entry was posted in Travel Trade and tagged , by Abrar. Bookmark the permalink.

About Abrar

Welcome to the narration of whatever is piquing my interest. I spent the first 6 years of my professional life in software development and project management at a start-up, a 10 person consulting company and ultimately reporting to the C.I.O. for a Fortune 150 conglomerate. I've spent the last 9 years in travel the travel industry: 2 years in managing travel technology projects (the systems travelers use like booking engines and fare databases) and the remaining 7 years in business development at an online travel agency specializing in international travel. I truly enjoyed growing from 2 people and near zero sales to a multi-national travel agency with an offshore call center, deploying an overseas sales office, securing key corporate clients, implementing strategic relationships within the travel industry and embracing technology as best we could afford to do. I stepped away from a day to day role in 2006 and have since specialized in advising companies in and outside of the travel industry on what to do and what not to do as they expand. My personal interests include international travel, reading books and spending time with family and friends. I love business, I love travel and I love technology.

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