Heatmap, Hot or Not? Free Alternatives for Crazy Egg
This is the second part of the article about the heatmaps and alternatives for Crazy Egg. Many more to come! A lot of new heatmap systems made their way to the public since this article was published. Time for an update!
The next free trackingsystem is called “The definite heatmap” by Corunet and is a “do it yourself solution“. Corunet gives you the opportunity to build your own heatmap, this way you have a better understanding how these programs work. For the lazy people among us: you can download all necessary files at the end of the tuturial.
Another free heatmap comes from Labs Media and is called Clickheat. This open source application uses php and needs to be installed on your server. To make things easier, they developed Clickheat as a wordpress plugin as well.
After several search strings into google I came across this article on heatmaps written by Matt Ridout and gave me some new insights of Labs Media. Apparently the plugin adds a little link into your webpages back to the website of Labs Media, which can conflict with some searchengines. It’s not difficult to remove the link, but I’m not really fond of this kind of strategy.
What I immediately liked about Clickdensity is the ease of implementation – just five lines of code – and the ease of use. With only four buttons you can choose between the normal heat map, the click map, the hover map and the page stats. The page stats however shows minimal information because Clickdensity does not collect much data other than the X and Y coordinates of the clicks to generate the heatmap. You can filter the clicks by browser, click time, date and screen size.
A very nice feature is the ability to attach the X and Y click coordinates to a certain element of your page. This can be necessary when you update your website on regular bases with new content, meaning a change in lay-out. A minor setback however is that it takes quiet some time to generate the heatmap overlays. They offer a 30 day trail, in which you can fully test the functionalities. If you’re looking for a straightforward and easy to use heatmap application without extensive analytical information, you should definitely try Clickdensity.
As mentioned before, heatmaps are better used on static websites than dynamic ones. The content on dynamic website is often changed (e.g. new posts/comments on blogs), this in contrast with the coordinates of the recorded clicks made by the visitors. This shouldn’t be a problem if you update your blog/website monthly and attract a serious amount of visitors.
Picnet Mouse Eye Tracking
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This Australian company, named Picnet, has two heatmap systems: the eye tracking heatmap and the click heatmap. The name “eye tracking heatmap” can be a bit misleading because there is no eye tracking going on. Picnet justifies the name with the result of certain studies, which claims:
“There is a strong correlation (84%) between the regions of website pages scanned by your eyes and the regions visited by the mouse cursor. Additionally, 88% of regions that are not scanned by the eyes are also not visited by the mouse cursor.”
So instead of tracking the eyes, Picnet tracks the mouse movements.
There are two ways to display the click heatmap – a general map of the sectors your visitors are scanning with their eyes, and a more detailed view that shows the pattern of mouse clicks on each area of the page. It also tracks mouse movements and shows you the website architecture and user movements throughout the website.
If you subscribe for a free account, you need to mention Picnet’s website with a small line of text which is provided by them. To get rid of this text you will need to upgrade to a premium account, which costs A$2,000 per annum per domain or A$500 per month per domain.
The free account however delivers very useful information but has some downsides.
For example, it doesn’t keep your data longer than 2 weeks, it doesn’t record any keyboard interaction (which is useful for investigating your forms) and it does’t show user interactions with the page (so no AJAX or drop down menu’s for example).
Real-time heatmap, made by Patrick Wied
Although it looks great, it does come with a minor issue. It’s possible to save the precious data but for now you can only extract it from the biggest alert message I have ever seen, maybe useful for technicians but not for me.
Don’t forget that this concept is still in an early stage but I think this has some real potential in becoming more than just an experiment because of Wied’s approach and the simplicity of his solution. Looking forward in seeing more of it.
Continue reading on the third page for even more heatmap systems.