With session recordings, you don’t need to guess what people are doing on your website: you can actually watch how they browse, interact with, and move across pages, so you can empathize with their journey and spot any issues they encounter—which in turn gives you valuable data to change and fix their user experience.
But recordings alone can’t give you all the answers you need to improve and optimize your site: to super-charge your work, you have to combine them with other analytics and feedback tools.
Traditional web analytics tools (think Google Analytics) give you plenty of quantitative data points about large-scale traffic and usage patterns. You can certainly make educated guesses about what’s happening based on numbers and charts—but you’re still missing some crucial context behind them both.
For example: what do you do after your analytics tools reveal that you have a page with lots of traffic but very few conversions? As a first step, you can find a list of relevant recordings, review 10-20 of them, and start observing what people actually do on the page.
Recordings and A/B testing are very closely linked: you can use insight that you get from recordings to define test hypotheses, and you can also watch recordings of A/B test page variations to understand what is making a page more successful than the other.
Session recordings are generated for individual users and show you their actions across multiple pages, while heatmaps help you visualize data from page visitors in aggregate.
When you are interested in a specific page, heatmaps can give extra clarity to the insights you pick up from a set of recordings. For example: if you notice the same behavior across 5 or 10 recordings (for example, users ignoring a button or call to action, CTA), you might be tempted to generalize and think that everybody visiting the page behaves in the same way. A heatmap will easily help you prove or disprove the assumption.
Quantitative (numerical) data is fundamental to making data-informed UX decisions, but qualitative (non-numerical) data is similarly crucial.
After you observe interesting and/or unusual behaviors in your session recordings, you can ask your visitors and customers for direct feedback and learn why they behave the way they do (for example, why they are about to abandon your site). Even a one-question survey can give you powerful insight and lead to business-changing transformation.