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How to analyze rage clicks to understand customer behavior and improve UX

June 5, 2020 by Alex Jost

If you’ve ever been frustrated by an element on a website that doesn’t respond to your clicks (no matter how many times you try), you’re probably already familiar with the concept of rage-clicking—which is a good thing! Understanding your website visitors’ frustration means you can empathize with them.

When your visitors encounter issues, bugs, or broken elements on your site, you can use rage clicks as a tool to quickly identify what to change to give them a better experience. We show you how in this piece by covering:

What are rage clicks?

Rage clicks happen when users repeatedly click in a certain area or on a specific element of your website over a short period of time. Rage clicks can be detected during in-person usability testing or with behavior analytics software like the session recordings features in Hotjar.

Sometimes people click repeatedly out of habit (more on this later), but rage clicks can indicate user frustration and might be a symptom of something problematic on your site—like dead links, broken elements, website bugs, or slowly loading pages—which can help you identify opportunities to improve the user experience (UX).

cats poster shopping cart rage clicks

Rage clicks as a sign of poor UI and customer experience

Sometimes repeated clicks are about poor UX, and sometimes they’re not—which is why it’s important to understand what you’re looking for.

Like we mentioned above, some people ‘rage click’ out of habit as they read or scan a web page, and they’re not necessarily clicking out of anger or frustration. These rage clicks are what we call false positives.

example of habitual rage clicks
Meta Hotjar: an example of someone habitually rage clicking, dragging, and selecting as they read this blog post

But if your customer is having a bad experience on your site—maybe because of poor design or a confusing user interface (UI)—rage clicks can serve to immediately identify what the issue is, or to invite you to dig deeper into the website experience.

Putting rage clicks into context helps you see a broader picture and understand what’s really happening on your website. The easiest way to do it is by using a tool like Hotjar's session recordings, as we show you below.

How to use session recordings to investigate rage clicks

Session recordings (also known as session replays and user recordings) are renderings of the actions taken by real visitors as they browse your site. Recordings capture the mouse movements, clicks, taps, and scrolls across multiple pages, giving you insight into how visitors react to and interact with elements and features of your website.

Example of a Hotjar recording
An example of a session recording

When you use rage clicks as a filter in Hotjar Session Recordings, you can pinpoint the moments when a user was repeatedly clicking on an element or area of your site—which will help you identify which changes to make to optimize UX and improve the customer experience.

Here’s how:

Using rage clicks to improve UX [an ecommerce example in 2 steps]

Let’s say you’ve seen more abandoned carts and higher exit rates than usual on your checkout page, and you need to see what’s happening so you can figure out why people aren’t completing their purchases.

You turn to session recordings so you can see how people are using your site, and more specifically, to see what they’re experiencing on the checkout page:

1) Filter your recordings by URL to view only those visitors who went to the checkout page

how to filter a recording by URL

After doing some user recordings analysis (defining goals, dedicating focused time to watch and take notes, and tagging or highlighting your recordings to share with your team), you’ll be ready to get even more specific.

2) Filter your recordings even further to view only those visitors who rage clicked on the checkout page

example of how to filter recordings by rage click

When you watch and analyze recordings of people rage-clicking on your checkout page, you may realize what the problem is—maybe a key element is broken, they can’t choose their payment method, or can’t update their billing or shipping details.

After sharing your findings with your team, you’ll be in a good position to collectively decide what action to take: fix dead links, broken or missing elements, and other bugs or issues on your site to improve the checkout experience for your users.

Note: we recommend that you experiment with different recordings filters to help you pinpoint issues that need to be fixed for your users.

As we mentioned before, rage clicks can help you identify issues right away—but rage clicks alone often won’t reveal the whole issue, and are just one of many tools that’ll help you dig deeper into the customer experience.

Pro tip: you can use recordings together with incoming feedback to find users who rage clicked and left feedback, which will probably indicate user frustration on account of broken or confusing elements on your site.

how to use recordings and feedback together

Keep reading to learn more about combining recordings filters.

Combining rage clicks with other filters to dig deeper into the customer experience

If you’ve got thousands of Hotjar Recordings, it’s rare that rage clicks alone will show you all of the issues your users may be experiencing. Rage clicks are signals of what may be aggressive or frustrated user behavior, but to get the full picture it’s better to focus on patterns, and use rage clicks as part of a larger effort to understand and improve the customer experience.

Once session recordings have given you an understanding of your users’ traffic patterns and you can identify where they’re getting stuck, you can filter recordings by page (or a set of pages), and add frustration filters like rage clicks and u-turns.

Pro tip: you can combine filters to save time and narrow down your recordings even further to pages where users rage clicked, then bounced or exited without converting. For example, filtering by URL, rage clicks, and u-turns (when a user goes back a page) brings this recordings session count down from 10k+ to 12.

how to combine recording filters

What are your website visitors’ clicks trying to tell you?

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and start learning from your customers today.

hotjar heatmap session recording
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Alex Jost

Alex is a Product Writer at Hotjar. As a wordsmithing product marketer he’s normally to be found chiseling down microcopy while listening to techno.