If your company relies only on analytics software to interpret and give insights on raw numbers, you are probably missing out. Numbers can give answers to many questions, like where are your users coming from, which page they visit, how long do they stay on your website and many more.
However, if you want to know also HOW they visit your website, then you should start using heat maps. This article is about a case study of how the city of Portsmouth (UK) is using Crazy Egg to improve user experience and to help reorganize key pages and services.
In the city of Portsmouth, citizens come to the website already. In fact, our users have to pay their council tax, parking fines, apply for schools, book bin collections, and borrow books at public libraries to name just a few services. However, two new forces are pushing the Council to do better on digital:
- The UK government set up a new digital strategy to inform local authorities end public entities on how to use the Internet to improve care and services to citizens.
- Independent bodies rate and review our website from UX and user perspective on a regular basis and publish their results for everyone to read.
This is a strong motivation, and partially an obligation, for us at Portsmouth City Council to move ahead and improve our users’ experience.
How We Improve User Experience
In analytics and user experience, everyone has their opinions, but at the end of the day, data wins all the arguments. That’s why, at Portsmouth City Council, we rely on software like Crazy Egg in parallel with Google Analytics to manage experiments that, hopefully, can improve users’ experience on the following:
- Gaining a deep understanding of what makes people click on a service.
- Determining what make some users not complete a task.
- Identifying options for improvements through testing new solutions.
These Are The Objections We Have Found On Our Website Using Crazy Egg And How We Have Addressed Them
With Crazy Egg confetti report, we have identified that some users were unclear where to click on our services page. Many of them clicked on the left text, which is not clickable and we realized this was causing confusion and frustration.
How We Have Modified The Home Page
To counter this objection, we have A/B tested a different approach and replaced the services list with boxes as in the image below, remapping the way it looks. We have tested this new service layout vs. the previous one with the assumption that users would find it easier clicking on the new one. This is how the new services section looks now:
In summary, our Crazy Egg confetti report gave us a visual on were users were clicking, which was in the text without hyperlinks and so we have developed a new home page to address this issue. Every piece of text is now clickable and the list of services is open and available to everyone.
How We Have Reduced Bounce Rate And Increased Page Views on The Whole Website
This improved their experience on the home page and the reduced bounce rate from 34% to 10%. This means a decrease of 24% in bounce rate with one simple change. As a consequence of this, we have started to see an increase in clicks volumes on the home page, this means obviously users started to visit more pages on the website.
This graph below shows increased site-wide page views, decreased bounce rate and also decreased average session time from 01:30 to approx. 00:50. The last result is obviously explained by more people clicking on the div links and spending less time on the home page.
As we are a public authority, contact details are often really hard to address because of the huge number of departments and they become subject to objections. Prospects said that they weren’t sure where to find certain contact details about public officers or departments within our contact directory page. However, these contact details were publicly available on our contact page and the issue was that users couldn’t find them, only we didn’t know why.
This is an interesting example of how implementing an obvious and simple solution makes all the difference. Our contact directory was built with an accordion, users were forced to click on one of the 58 contacts categories on the accordion, as per the image below. Especially on mobile devices, scrolling through 58 contacts items and clicking on an accordion was discouraging and time-consuming.
However, from Google Analytics we were seeing a very low bounce rate on this page if compared to the average on the website and we couldn’t explain why.
Here is the page before our changes with the accordion in place.
The reason why the bounce rate was so low (=20%) was because people were clicking on the accordion to open the contact details of a department. With Crazy Egg reports, we have identified that people were clicking on the accordion, which was something we couldn’t have figured out with Google Analytics only.
How We Have Modified The Page
Also, at the same time, we dived into getting feedback from users asking questions like “did you find what they were looking for?” and received some feedback. 73% of respondents answered “No” to the question and 27% respondents answered “Yes.” Some of their comments were around users not being able to find contact details. The funny thing is contacts details were there on the page, just hidden behind the accordion.
Armed with this feedback, we realized people could have benefited from an open and transparent page by removing the accordion to make all contact details visible in front of them. This is how the page looked after the removed the accordion:
How did the revised page do in our test? We asked them directly whether they found what they were looking for, same question as before. This time answers were much more positive:
53% of respondents answered “No” and 47% answered “yes.” Here is the graph comparing the A (with accordion) and the B (without accordion) contacts directory answers:
While in the B version the “No” is still higher than “Yes,” compared to version A there is an increase of 121% of positive feedbacks on the B variant.
Combining Crazy Egg, Google Analytics and feedback tools we identified UX issues, tested a new solution and implemented the change, while in the process demystifying a myth of low bounce rate being a good thing. In our case, low bounce rate was caused by the accordion and it was a bad thing.
Bins, Rubbish & Recycling
With Crazy Egg we have identified that for a subset of visitors finding bin collection dates is a very important information. This is what Crazy Egg was showing us:
With using Google Analytics we identified how these visitors were finding this page:
- Via Google search results directly into the relevant page
- Using our internal search bar
- By visiting several pages in an attempt to find the information
Because we have a home page where we list our top tasks, we had a silly moment where we realized “why isn’t this task available on the home page yet?”
Therefore our next move was giving more space and visibility to the “Find your bin collection dates” task directly on the home page, in an effort to make user experience shorter and better. This screenshot shows that this new task on the home page became one of the most clicked:
Thanks to Crazy Egg, we have identified a key task and improved our users’ experience by reducing the number of interactions.
Combining Crazy Egg with Google Analytics is the most powerful strategy to improve user experience and to identify issues that Google Analytics alone is not able to. Crazy Egg is also very useful to identify trends and issues on most visited pages and underestimated buttons and actions. Armed with this knowledge, you can reorganize how you display your content in a more simple and intuitive way for your users.
Also, Crazy Egg can be used to experiment new alternative UX solutions and gather data to check whether these solutions have a positive impact on your key pages. As we said before, everyone has their opinions but data wins all the arguments.
About the Author: Luca Tagliaferro is a digital marketing manager, affiliate manager and founder of lucatag.com, a digital marketing blog where you can buy his eBook in Affiliate Marketing Strategy, and founder of cloudstoragenews.it, the biggest review website on cloud storage in Italy.