Learn / Blog / Article
6 ways remote teams can use Hotjar to understand their users
If you’re part of a remote or distributed team, you may have noticed the productivity boosts you gain by working asynchronously. But moving your business forward has to happen while your team stays firmly focused and aligned on what matters most: your customers.
Last updated14 Sep 2021
When you’re deep at work in Hotjar insights—for example, discovering through session recordings that visitors are rage-clicking or quickly bouncing away from a new landing page—you need an easy way to share learnings with your team so you can work together to resolve issues and give your visitors a better experience.
In this piece, we show you how your remote team can use Hotjar together to better understand your users and improve their user experience (UX). We cover:
📚 Dear remote and distributed teams (a quick note),
If you’re already pretty comfortable with working remotely and need to learn how to collaborate with your teams when working asynchronously on product management projects, A/B testing, new launches, or any other project that requires understanding user behavior, you’re in the right place.
But if you’re looking for more general information about remote work, take a look at these remote work resources instead.
You can also read tips from one of Hotjar's engineering team leads about leading a remote team; or if you need to learn how to virtually onboard new team members, our remote onboarding guide is for you.
3 ways to share Hotjar insights with your team when working remotely [with 6 examples]
Hotjar can help you learn about your customers from your customers—and we make it easy for you to share your insights and work collaboratively with your team, no matter where you are in the world.
When your team can understand how and why people behave the way they do on your site, you can start focusing on your visitors’ needs and discover which changes need to be made to improve the customer experience (CX).
Research and analyze: use heatmaps to visualize customer behavior
Save time: share Hotjar Recordings with your teams
Keep learning: use on-site surveys to deepen customer understanding
1. Research and analyze: use heatmaps to visualize customer behavior
THE DATA ON THE LEFT IS THE SAME AS THAT ON THE RIGHT—BUT ONE IS MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND.
Hotjar Heatmaps are a powerful way to understand what users do on your website: where they click, how far they scroll, and what they look at or ignore. A heatmap is a visual representation of numerical page click data where values are depicted by color, making it easy to visualize and understand behavior at a glance.
For remote teams, heatmaps are easily shareable to keep everyone up to speed on how people are using your site, and where you need to make changes.
💡 Pro tip: prerecorded videos are the perfect way to asynchronously bring your team up to speed and align on what matters most so you can make the right changes for your users.
When you find a goldmine (or even a golden nugget) of insight in Hotjar and you want to share it with your remote team, you don’t have to set up a virtual session or meeting: you can record a quick Loom or Soapbox video and share your screen while you talk about the insights you’ve found. Loom even gives you a nifty little pointer so you can highlight things like a pro (you’ll impress everyone and save time).
LOUIS FROM THE HOTJAR MARKETING TEAM SHARED A HEATMAP WITH LOOM TO UPDATE US ON IMPROVEMENTS TO OUR PRICING PAGE
Add your insights to collaborative whiteboards (an example from Tyk)
AN EXAMPLE OF A MIRO BOARD FOR A TIMED HEATMAP FEEDBACK SESSION
Tools like heatmaps and online whiteboards work incredibly well together to bring information to life and maximize its value by making it visual—particularly when your team is not all in the same place.
Viola Marku, a UX Researcher at Tyk, shares Hotjar insights with her team with the help of Miro, an online whiteboard and collaboration tool (we’re big fans of Miro at Hotjar, too):
I like to quickly grab the insights [from Hotjar] and stick them into a Miro board, and be able to refer back to them. It gives me a lot of confidence that what we’re doing is data-driven.
Many teams at Tyk run weekly workshops for website improvement projects. Viola’s Miro boards are prepared with background information on the project, as well as an important section on insights, which is where Hotjar Heatmaps come in:
If we’re trying to improve something in the UI, I’ll include snippets of a heatmap that show the most insight on how it’s used. Other times we’ll have interactive, hands-on activities where I show the entire heatmap in Miro and get the team to comment where they find insights, timeboxing this input and then reviewing it together.
Bringing heatmap insights into a collaborative session like this also helps Viola align the Tyk team on user-facing challenges and opportunities:
It gives everyone confidence that they’ve participated; that they’ve taken part in gathering those insights, making the insights theirs. It’s a great way to get colleagues on board with your goals in a session you’re moderating.
Annotate and share heatmap insights with your teams (like Rebrandly does)
HOW REBRANDLY SHARES ANNOTATED HEATMAPS WITH THEIR TEAM
Hotjar Heatmaps are great for measuring a new element’s performance and understanding how your users are interacting with it. If you’re testing a new element on your site, for example a new call to action (CTA), a heatmap will show you how visitors are responding to it, and will reveal whether additional changes need to be made.
When it comes to sharing heatmap insights, raising awareness is as easy as taking a screenshot of your heatmap, annotating it, and sharing it with your team. Take a leaf out of Rebrandly URL Shortener’s book. Davide De Guz, Founder at Rebrandly, told us how he quickly downloads and shares heatmaps:
It's super easy to get the link and send it to the right person by email or Slack. We analyze the heatmap remotely—independently—and after that, we discuss the results on our dedicated channels on Slack. When I need to send quick messages and evaluation I usually use Hotjar in combination with CloudApp. As you can see in this example [above], I’m sharing the heatmap with CloudApp and writing my comments on the image so my teammates can easily get my point and observations.
Use heatmaps for design research (an example from Buffer)
AN EXAMPLE OF A SCROLL MAP (LEFT) AND A MOVE MAP (RIGHT)
If you’re working on a remote design team, this section is for you. We reached out to Buffer's fully distributed team for some Hotjaring tips; Julia Jaskólska, their graphic designer, told us about the value of getting insights from Hotjar into how visitors act when her colleagues are not around:
For me, as a designer, [insights from Hotjar are] especially important as I can measure my work efficiently by watching how visitors interact with my designs. I can get early ideas on what changes could we introduce in the next page iteration to get better results. As I don’t always have other teammates to help me next to my desk or sometimes even in my timezone, being empowered to collect the data is very helpful. Once I see early tendencies I can dig deeper, sharing my findings and looping other teammates in.
At Buffer, most of the collaboration on design projects happen in Design Briefs, which are Dropbox Paper documents that work as a hub for all the collaboration that happens on the project—both asynchronously and during organized sessions.
In the Design Brief, the team asks questions like “What problem are we solving?” and “Why is it important for our customers?” The defined problem is followed by an extensive research section, which includes observational research, customer interviews, metrics, and UX design feedback. Hotjar’s Heatmaps are often one of the very first elements brought up in the research phase, when other teammates hop into the document to share their observations and conclusions.
This research and preparation method provides Julia and the team a lot of confidence to launch their projects, and Hotjar Heatmaps continue to provide insights after they’ve published changes too, so Buffer can monitor their success metrics.
2. Save time: share Hotjar Recordings with your teams
Hotjar Session Recordings (aka session replays) are renderings of actions taken by real visitors as they browse your website. Recordings capture mouse movement, clicks, taps, and scrolls across multiple pages on desktop and mobile devices, and help you understand how users interact with your website. You can use what you learn from session recordings to fix issues, optimize UX, and ultimately improve conversion rates.
When you’re working remotely, Hotjar Session Recordings make it easy to tag important moments to share with your team. Being able to quickly share insights from recordings saves your team time while you learn more about the customers’ journey together.
Share and analyze recordings with your team (like Beamer does)
A STILL FROM A SESSION RECORDING OF BEAMER’S HOMEPAGE
When you’re working remotely, it’s important to have the right tools in place that help coordinate your efforts to build a better product and better business. The team at Beamer is spread across three different continents, and they use Hotjar Session Recordings to align their team on user-facing challenges and opportunities on a weekly basis.
Their goal with session recordings is to see how users interact with the in-app onboarding process and certain landing pages so they can learn (from real visitors) how to improve the onboarding process and increase conversion rates.
The Beamer UX team’s method to get the most out of recordings goes like this:
Once per week, the product and UX team have a virtual call to screen 10-20 Hotjar Recordings. While the recordings are playing, user behavior patterns are noted and potential improvements are logged. No one watches the recordings beforehand, preferring the spontaneity of watching them for the first time live as a team.
The Beamer team focuses on specific elements during these sessions. For example, watching only sessions where new users are experiencing product onboarding.
Consistency is key: they never skip their weekly Hotjar call. Reviewing recordings is critical to identify where users are getting stuck—whether that be in onboarding, account set-up or upgrade, or anywhere else on their site or app.
Recordings are used as an objective, user-focused way to scope improvements to UX, and replaces the UX team’s opinions with data to drive decisions.
Our product onboarding is fully automated, so it’s especially important to always be looking for ways to improve our UX. Being a remote team, it would be impossible for us to effectively coordinate this work on our own. With recordings we can be sure our teams are focusing on what matters most to users while working asynchronously.
Note: we’re fans of Beamer ourselves, and use it for our product updates.
Show-and-tell sessions with Hotjar Recordings [for product and engineering teams]
Hotjar has been fully distributed from day one, and we’ve developed our own ways to collaborate. Kacper Sokołowski, a front-end engineer on our Activation squad (the team that works on Hotjar’s product onboarding), explains how the team uses recordings to better understand Hotjar’s users:
Our squad is currently working on signup, login, and onboarding. We want to make sure that people understand what Hotjar is and what value they can get from it. We’re also aiming that once a user is signed up, they can get up-and-running quickly. As a product team, we take an experiment-driven approach to building Hotjar. This means preparing multiple versions of the experience—the Hotjar user interface—and presenting them to selected portions of our users. We measure to see which experience performed the best and based on this knowledge make decisions on what should be launched to more users. As a young team with a fair amount of new joiners, I thought it would be a good idea to use Hotjar to see how people use Hotjar. I planned a session that was designed to increase our knowledge of our users as well as getting us all more accustomed to using the product we’re building. I invited my team to a one-hour session with two goals: watch recordings, and create action points. Prior to the session, we’d just launched a couple of user-facing experiments in the product, so as the facilitator I decided to focus the session on recordings related to the experiments we’re running.
Here’s a sample agenda you can use to run session recording workshops in your calls with your engineering teams:
Have every person in the team select a product experiment you’re running
Watch recordings of users experiencing the product in that experiment variant for 20 minutes
While watching the recordings, make notes about what you notice: overall observations, bugs, pain points, or blockers that the user seemed to experience (use tagging and sharing features to make this even easier with Hotjar Recordings)
Have every member of the team present for a maximum of 5 mins each about their findings
The output of the meeting: a document with an analysis of the user-facing experience on all the products you’re currently running
3. Keep learning: use on-site surveys to deepen customer understanding
AN ON-SITE HOTJAR SURVEY ON VEGAN DELIVERY SERVICE ALLPLANTS’ WEBSITE.
On-site surveys (aka on-page surveys or feedback polls) are small, slide-in customer surveys that let you ask questions and collect feedback directly from the people who are visiting your site. Hotjar's on-site surveys can be triggered at specific moments (e.g., after 20 seconds from arriving on a page or after clicking on a specific button) and customized by color to match your brand.
If you’re on a remote team, sharing insights from an on-site survey is an efficient way of getting everybody on the same page about what’s important to your customers right now and what actions you need to take to improve their experience.
Share insights from on-site surveys with your team via Slack
Our Senior Editor Fio runs multiple surveys across our website to get a better understanding of our users and customers, their needs and issues, and their likelihood to recommend some of our tools. Her favorite way to share results with the team is taking screenshots of the Hotjar dashboard and simply attaching them to a Slack chat:
FIO SHARING THE RESULTS OF A NET PROMOTER SCORE SURVEY
If I want someone to be aware of survey results, the fastest way to showcase them is to take a screenshot and share it on Slack (sidenote: we use Slack for conversations that we want to be acknowledged quickly, but an important part of working remote is choosing the right medium for conveying information—so when the results don’t need to be communicated that urgently, I may simply attach the screenshot to an email or internal doc instead). When we run a survey with a numerical element (for example, a Net Promoter Score or a Customer Effort survey), results are visualized in a self-explanatory way so I don’t even need to add that much information to my Slack message. I will usually just share the screenshot with a quick comment and a link to the relevant poll, so my coworkers can dig deeper into the qualitative feedback in their own time and come back to the discussion with any questions or next steps they have come up with.
Pro tip: on-site surveys that are shown just before users abandon your site (also known as exit surveys) are a powerful method for gathering customer feedback at a critical moment in their journey through your site.
A CHEAT SHEET FROM CONVERSION RATE EXPERTS—CLICK ↑ TO DOWNLOAD!
The cheat sheet goes over:
Questions to ask in Hotjar exit surveys on different types of pages: homepages, product pages, and registration pages
The hidden meaning behind some of the most common survey responses
How to address objections to maximize your profits and optimize your visitors’ experience
We hope this guide has given you some inspiration to help you get the most out of analyzing user behavior—wherever your team members may be.
This piece was a tag-team effort by Alex Jost, Hotjar’s Product Writer, and Tawni Sattler, Hotjar’s Content Writer. Go team!
Tips and observations on remote working from a remote company. (Hint: It’s us!)
Hotjar was always going to be a remote company, long before the coronavirus pandemic. In 2014, when Hotjar began, our three founders all lived in Malta, yet they didn’t know how long they’d be there and where life would take them next.
So, they set out to create a remote company, and what better way to practice than by working from different corners of the island? It could’ve been easy to have a Meetup and work alongside each other, but David, Marc, and Jonathan started as they meant to go on.
Now, a few years and over 100 employees later, and in the spirit of one of our values—build trust with transparency—we’re ready to share some tips with the world. We asked Hotjarians about their experiences of working remotely and we’ve summarized them below.
The ‘Great Resignation’, from an entirely remote company’s perspective
A record number of people are leaving their jobs. It’s a phenomenon being called ‘The Great Resignation’, where more workers are planning to leave their jobs than ever before.
Some are pointing to the slow move to flexible or remote working as the main culprit. While on the other hand, some businesses have ignored this entirely and adopted the tactic of moving everyone right back into the office and returning to business as usual. (As a remote business, we don’t comply with this!)
Nevertheless, businesses are currently experiencing an exodus of talent. And on top of that, they’re having just as much trouble filling those empty seats.
How to build a fully remote Experience Design team (with a lovely culture): the Hotjar way
We’ve been fortunate at Hotjar that we were already fully remote pre-pandemic, but we’ve still felt the covid-sting. For one thing, it’s become pretty clear how much we depend on our company meetups to maintain the culture we know and love.