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8 tactics to uncover issues and prioritize fixes with Hotjar today
If you look at the bigger picture, every gesture extending empathy to your users counts for something. Your users' experiences and feelings are the actionable insights you need to build a business they'll love. Empathy also enables you to understand your customers on a deeper level, uncover issues that block them, and use your findings to prove your product or service’s value in their lives.
Last updated6 Sep 2023
This article presents eight actionable ways to empathize with your users without leaving the Hotjar platform. Take inspiration from these examples on how to discover issues and fix them as they arise using Hotjar’s features and tools:
1. Watch session recordings to identify the root cause of poor conversion
Are your conversion rates rising steadily…but slowly?
Your gut instinct may be telling you that something’s not clicking. So you try multiple tools for conversion rate optimization (CRO) at once: Google Analytics, heatmap software, a UX agency, and even focus groups representing your target audience. And yet, your conversion rates continue to increase negligibly—think 0.5%—each month.
This is exactly what happened to StudentCrowd, a decision-making platform for university students in the UK, until they started watching session recordings captured with Hotjar. The solution not only cost less but also bolstered their conversion rates by a whopping 55%.
A quick study: what caused StudentCrowd’s conversion rates to climb?
StudentCrowd allows students to review courses, accommodation, part-time jobs, and anything related to university student life. Here’s how they found and tackled their users' challenges, all in less than two hours:
With his team, Paul (the founder and CEO) watched recordings of students trying to complete reviews
They noticed several behavioral patterns right away: students were spending too much time scrolling on mobile, struggling to answer questions, and straining to find certain buttons
With their findings, they made small changes that drastically improved the situation and racked up fantastic results
Remember: the real reason behind poor conversion can be buried deep within the user experience. By watching recordings consistently, you’re training your team to discover issues and implement bug fixes immediately. Schedule a Watch Party with them to build muscle memory while keeping it fun.
2. Generate heatmaps of updated pages to gauge user reception
Heatmaps represent visitor interactions via a color scale. They show areas receiving the most (red) to the least (blue) interaction, which comes in the form of:
Clicks on desktop and taps on mobile
After the redesign, compare the pre-change and post-change heatmaps to spot differences in people’s behavior. See if users are more compelled to take a desired action. Do they get confused when they click or tap on an element and are taken somewhere they didn’t expect? Are they ignoring or missing something you’d like them to focus on?
As a visual tool, a heatmap makes getting your message across easier, whether you’re discussing insights with your team or someone from another department. It’s a must-have for everyone involved in cross-functional collaboration.
A cautionary tale
After adding a video to the Hotjar homepage during a 2018 redesign, we found out through various click maps (a type of heatmap collating all page clicks) that it wasn’t driving any interaction, only wasting valuable space. So we took the insight, changed the design again, and removed the video in the new version.
Mobile and desktop click maps proved to us that a video wasn’t providing any business value by existing high up on the Hotjar homepage
3. Combine Recordings and Heatmaps for a clearer picture of the customer journey
Here’s another option for you: mix and match Hotjar’s tools and features to take your website analysis to the next level. Below are steps you can follow as-is or tailor fit to your needs for switching things up on our platform.
Pinpoint problem areas
Capture Recordings of your customers end-to-end journey. If you notice sales are down, use our built-in filters to narrow down the pages you wish to evaluate. Filters allow you to view relevant session recordings based on specific criteria.
Once you have access to the recordings, identify steps where people encounter issues. It could be that they’re hesitant to log in before checking out, they might feel lost while looking for a product they previously viewed, or ultimately, they’ve grown impatient and abandoned their carts altogether.
Include the voice of the customer
Think like an investigator, so you can piece together what’s happening along the customer journey. Gather first-hand accounts by placing a Feedback widget on specific pages. This tool enables you to hear from your users the moment they encounter issues and lets you in on how they truly experience your site in real time.
Prioritize fixes and opportunities
Generate heatmaps to determine popular and unpopular areas, elements, and features on your website. This visual representation of page views and related data informs your next steps regarding which bug fixes to prioritize and which opportunities to pursue.
💡Pro tip: when it comes to the ecommerce customer journey, Hotjar and Google Analytics (GA) are the ideal pair. GA shows you what is happening across your site while Hotjar tells you why—the context behind the numbers that gives your imagination a workout and allows you to put yourself in the customers’ shoes.
4. Apply filters to track down bugs and use Highlights to group findings and get buy-in more easily
You already know filters and recordings work together to help you bust website bugs. But there are other techniques to refine your investigation. Here’s how to uncover issues using this powerful combination:
Filter recordings by users who rage clicked during a session. Rage clicks are multiple clicks on an element, precisely five clicks within 500 milliseconds of one another—a strong indication that people are encountering a problem when interacting with said element.
Within the segment of users who rage clicked, sort the recordings by exit page, the last page a person visited before leaving your site. See if a pattern is present on the same exit page and strategically locate where issues exist.
Once you’ve spotted an error, you can solve the issue in no time at all with our Jira integration—simply create a new ticket directly from Hotjar to notify your team and provide them with poignant visual evidence.
Further, you can capture a highlight when you find evidence of pain points or blockers from a heatmap or recording. Label a highlight as a bug (🐞), save it, and add highlights to a collection to:
Evaluate the reach and impact of bugs before prioritizing them
Group findings and share them with stakeholders later, so you can evaluate the reach and impact of bugs before prioritizing fixes
5. Launch Feedback and Surveys to ask users directly about what bugs them (no pun intended)
When users encounter an issue on your site, ask them to leave a feedback response or complete a survey. Going to them directly enables you to gauge frustration—or delight—about individual parts of your site, such as an entire page, forms, images, or new features. In turn, this tactic helps drive rapid improvements.
You can also connect user responses to the session recordings that feature them. For instance, you get a comment saying, “it doesn’t work 😡,” which could leave you wondering what exactly does not work. Remove the guesswork around this answer by viewing the associated recording and pinpointing what they’re referring to.
6. Run user interviews with Engage to determine common UX challenges
Go deeper and get closer to your customers by investing in user interviews. There are two immediate benefits to talking to your users as often as possible. For one, it empowers them to participate in developing a product that meets their needs. At the same time, this practice streamlines your workflow and trains your team to iterate faster on their designs.
The challenge with this type of user research is that it takes time to recruit the right people, schedule interviews, host and record the call, transcribe it later, and share insights. With Engage, the newest addition to Hotjar’s family of products, you can improve the process and spend your time on more important things: building strong relationships with your users.
Start with the following:
Remember: the qualitative insights you glean from user interviews are invaluable. Why? They clarify your users’ main motivations and concerns, sparking impactful changes for you.
7. Create a dashboard to discover user insights
Hotjar’s Dashboard offers an aggregate, visual view of your users’ qualitative and quantitative data, giving you a glimpse of what’s happening across your site. Checking the Dashboard every now and then can clue you in on new insights or pave the path to greater discovery, such as:
Uncovering issues and understanding the real reason your visitors don’t become customers
Quickly learning how users really feel about your product by studying user sentiment
Seeing how users react to UX changes by consulting the rage click and u-turn trends
8. Make the most of Hotjar to stay agile and master prioritization
Prioritizing bug fixes and product updates could mean building something totally unexpected (and different from what you initially envisioned). But at its core, it’s also about implementing customer-led changes that will keep users happy while simultaneously growing your bottom line.
The Hotjar platform equips your team with tools and features that help you achieve exactly that:
Zoom in on individual pages’ heatmaps to identify and fix the most common UX issues
Eliminate guesswork and gain insight into what users actually want through Feedback and Surveys
Look at the big picture through the Dashboard to spot issues before they become serious, get rid of backlog, and monitor trends to discover if a problem is more of an isolated case or a widespread event that deserves prioritization
Deepen insights by employing filters, Highlights, and Events
Mix and match these strategies to gather your findings, build your case, get support for your ideas, deliver impact, and keep everyone in sync
Implement changes—big or small—with confidence
Keeping an eye on the pain points and blockers your customers face is made more efficient by our intuitive tools and features. If this is your first time trying a heatmap or learning how a session recording works, start by solving simple problems and delivering quick wins.
You’ll get the hang of it the more you practice (and streamline your workflow in the process). Of course, it can go a long way if you remember that with each issue you uncover and bug you fix, you’re taking steps to become better at empathizing with your users. And that’s something worth aiming for when your users’ appreciation and loyalty inevitably manifest as more sales.
Solving common problems
How to evaluate the impact and reach of website bugs
Those pesky bugs. Even with the most meticulous checks possible, one or two usually make it through to production.
It’s vital to evaluate website bugs as they come up, so you know how urgently you need to fix them. Without taking a moment to assess impact, you’ll be shooting in the dark.
You might invest your precious resources in unnecessary work, or worse—underestimate the problem and cause frustrated users to take their business elsewhere.
Solving common problems
Create an effective landing page using these free tools (video tutorial)
Your website is still one of your most important business tools, yet only 15% of websites average over 100,000 unique monthly visitors. In order to create successful websites that convert, consumers have access to an array of tools and features that promise to simplify their lives.
However, the overwhelming abundance of options can sometimes lead to more complications. Business owners often find themselves wondering, "How can I easily create a landing page that converts without design resources, IT support, or expensive optimization experts?"
Solving common problems
10 ways Hotjar helps you understand your users better
Your sales are down; the well's running dry. What do you do to encourage people to buy from you: add a new product or service or multiply an existing product's features?
Increasing choices and features may be a business's automatic response to boost interest and, later on, conversion and sales. But more is needed to justify using company resources to create a solution that may or may not resonate with customers.
To achieve real, needle-moving change, you need to dig deeper and understand users better—what motivates or frustrates them and what hinders or helps them satisfy their 'jobs to be done'.