Improving UI/UX on #highered Websites with Hotjar

I’m sure we all agree that college websites should be tested and evaluated continuously to improve user experience (UX) and increase conversions. As web professionals we need to know what works, what may work better, and what is just useless. I was fortunate enough to use Hotjar on our site in its beta.

features of hotjar to increase edu site conversionsWhat the heck is Hotjar?

It takes just a second to setup, you add a script to all of your pages (it doesn’t slow your site down and is easy if you’re using a CMS) & then it allows you to record visitor sessions, see clicks, scrolls, and mobile use. It also generates heatmaps, allows for A/B test, & can add feedback forms and surveys to your site. It also helps you recruit site testers and has a ton of other features. Go check it out (after reading this blog post, of course!). I believe it’s a GREAT tool that is reasonably priced.

I placed the hotjar script on the previous version of our college website and it helped us with many decisions that we needed to address on our recently launched redesign. After launching the redesign, it helps us to see where users were struggling and we’ve made several changes after checking out heatmaps and visitor recordings. We also put feedback popups on our persona dashboards to ask users what they were looking for, but had trouble finding, how we could improve and what we were missing.

User experience is crucial on college sites. Prospects leave in one hell of a hurry if they can’t find what they want immediately. We’ve become a society that’s used to immediate gratification, ya know, especially on the web. So, we test and make changes to our interface (UI) to keep our visitors from having to think (Shout out to Steve Krug, author of Don’t Make Me Think).

Using hotjar data combined with Google Analytics and your CRM or marketing data may actually surprise you.

Remember, what users say they want and how they behave online can really be conflicting. Improve your calls to action, test different placements, colors, see where your mobile visitors get stuck, answer the “what are they looking for” question and chop content that just isn’t helping your cause and replace it with something else to see if you get a better response.

I was amazed how quickly the Hotjar people responded to me when I had issues, they listened to feedback, and are improving the service all the time.

I am not one to endorse products often and I certainly do not get paid to do it. It’s a nice service that will help those of us responsible for .edu websites. Try it out, it may replace several tools that you pay out of your ears for. I’d love to know successes you have with it. We can definitely all learn from the insights of other #highered web (or marketing) friends. I plan on writing about a few things that we changed because of using the service (one thing is improvement of our mobile nav on pages other than the homepage).

I hope this helps you, it certainly has helped me!


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