A Comprehensive Guide to Mobile Heatmaps

A Comprehensive Guide to Mobile Heatmaps
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Heatmaps are one of the most powerful tools when it comes to UX Analytics. It provides a way for Product Managers and UI/UX teams to understand, analyse, and measure user behaviour. In this guide, we will explore mobile app heatmaps, understand the benefits of heatmaps with UX testing and Analytics, and how valuable mobile heatmaps are when it comes to growing and improving your application. 

What are Mobile App Heatmaps?

In its most basic sense, heatmaps are a graphical representation of the user’s interactions on the mobile screen using colours. Warmer colours indicate the highest activity whereas colder colours indicate the lowest activities. By aggregating user behaviour, heatmaps collect data and give the Product Managers and UX designers an understanding of the users’ interactions. This includes:

  • Which elements users interact with most or least 
  • Where they scroll
  • What they ignore
  • What they focus on

Heatmaps aggregate huge amounts of data from users and are compiled in a way that allows the Product Managers and UX designers to quickly and accurately draw conclusions from the results.

Benefits of Mobile App Heatmaps

Heatmaps help in understanding how people interact with your applications, so you can get answers to business-critical issues like decrease in conversion rates or certain important actionable elements getting ignored. Using heatmaps, you can determine: 

  • Determine which elements get the most attention: Using the colour tones it will be much easier to find out which element gets the most attention. This helps in putting the most interactive elements in those spaces.

  • Increase conversions: Understanding user interaction with the specific application can help increase conversions. Using analytics and driving users to the most actionable elements will make it easier for users to convert.

  • Identify device-specific user behaviour: User behaviour depends on each device ranging from an iPad to a smartphone. Designers can use heatmaps to tweak the UI for that particular device so that users do not face any issue with the application.

  • Usability testing: You can use heat map data to define a hypothesis for a future split test, and you can also run heat maps on A/B test variations to provide more insight into why app versions are or aren’t successful.

  • Reaching the intended content or failing to see it: Heatmaps can also tell whether the intended content is being ignored by the user or whether the content is getting the required interaction. These elements can be shuffled around so that they acquire the maximal attention.

  • Getting distracted by non-clickable elements: There are instances where users are distracted by non-clickable elements like texts and panels. The application designers can change the UI using heatmaps so that these distractive elements do not hamper users’ experience with the app.

  • Funnel Analysis: Using heatmaps, you can get a detailed analysis of funnel steps when used alongside Session Replays. After creating the funnel, you can identify high drop-out rates on a specific screen and analyze heatmaps to find what’s causing the drop-out rates.

  • User Frustration: Helps in identifying if users are frustrated with unresponsive or slow responding controls..

  • User Behavior: Gesture sequencing enables product and UX team to understand if the users are using the app and elements the way it was intended to be used.

Testing your assumptions using heatmaps is a smart move as it helps you in determining whether or not your visitors are flowing down the conversion funnel. There are a range of touch heatmaps that allow the UI designers to take an informed decision

Types of Mobile App Heatmaps

Touch heatmaps capture every user’s minute interaction with the app. This means that it saves all gestures on their respective screens. This includes simple gestures such as taps and swipes, but also complex ones, like, zoom or trail gestures. There are a variety of heatmaps which help the developer and UX designers understand user behaviour.

  1. Tap Heatmaps: The tap heatmaps gives the Product Managers and UX designers team an insight into the basic gestures. Using these heatmaps, you can understand which element is getting the most attention and which elements are getting ignored. This also helps the UI/UX designers to design in such a way that the user is effortlessly escorted to the right elements and convert.
  2. Rage Tap Heatmaps: The rage tap heatmaps gives the developer team a measure of the user’s frustration. When a user tries to interact with a non-clickable element or a slow responding element, the user taps it continuously (over 2 taps) and then drops out from the screen. Using this the developer team can understand what went wrong and remodel the UI to prevent further occurrences.
  3. Long Press Heatmaps: These heatmaps are dedicated to identifying the long presses on the user’s screen. If the action is not expected or the elements covered under long presses are being ignored, these heatmaps can help in determining the ideal solution to fix it. 

Furthermore, each heatmap is analysed in the form of the different gestures performed. This gives your team a clear insight into the users’ action on the particular screen:

  • First Touch: The first impression on the app’s screen is very important and these gestures help in learning the first touch of the user.
  • Second Touches: The next set of touches to perform actions are labelled under second touches. These shows where the user has intuitively tapped after the first touch.
  • Last Touches: This is an important gesture as it helps in determining why the user’s left your app. You can analyse the leaving touch of each screen in the heatmaps.
  • Quit Touches: Quit touches helps your developer team understand the exact app events that led to user’s quitting the app. This helps in segmentation of the problem faced into crashes, UI issues, etc.
  • Unresponsive Touches: Uncover non-responsive areas in the app which users end up interacting with. These unresponsive gestures can be identified in the heatmap and help in determining the cause of unintended attention. 
[GRAPHIC FOR EACH GESTURE]

Furthermore, when other UX tools are combined with mobile app heatmaps, your product and UI/UX teams can understand each and every pattern, behaviour and actions performed on the screen.

Mobile App Heatmaps and Analytics

Heatmaps will definitely help you fix issues or make quick changes. But when you need a more in-depth understanding of how to improve the user experience, you’ll get more out of heat maps by combining them with other behaviour and feedback tools. 


As described in the above image, heatmaps hold a special position in the analytics context. They are neither as quantitative as A/B testing nor as qualitative as Session Replays. The true power of heatmaps can be harnessed when they are combined with other UX tools. 

  • Heatmaps + A/B testing: Heatmaps provide an ideal complement for A/B testing because of its semi-quantitative nature. Heat maps help in making informed, data-based decisions for A/B testing.

    You can use heat map data to define a hypothesis for a future split test, and you can also run heat maps on A/B test variations to provide more insight into why app versions are or aren’t successful. Product managers can roll out usability tests for new versions of the app and compare heatmaps to see the change in user behaviour. 
  • Heatmaps + Session Replay: While heat maps help you visualize data from users in aggregate, session replays are created for individual users and show you their actions across multiple screens. 

    Session recordings are renderings of user browsing sessions and help in bringing more clarity to some of the insights you pick up from a heat map. Instead of making assumptions about the clicking, tapping, and/or scrolling you see on a heatmap, session replays help in determining what exactly drove this user behaviour. 
  • Heatmaps + Crashlytics: Heatmaps can provide much more valuable insight into app crashes. As crash replay tools are for an individual user, heatmaps aggregate all the users’ crash screens to show which element led to the crash. In this case, Rage tap heatmaps come in handy. This allows the product managers to affect changes in a more global sense and prevent this from happening on future versions of applications.

Enhance your apps with mobile heatmaps from UserExperior

Traditional analytics and UX tools do not break down each application to its atomic level. The concept of users is lost and the application does not perform well as developers fail to understand the usability concerns. Every micro-interaction with the app gives a peek into the world of users and their behaviour. Businesses fear that employing other software to streamline their UX development, involves a lot of technical jargon and coding.
Enter UserExperior, from multiple swipes to uncountable taps, our software tracks every single gesture of your users in our mobile app heatmaps

  • Analyze touch heatmaps: The best mobile app heatmap analytics tool in the market shows the sequence of gestures performed on the app through a step-by-step visual screen representation. Increase your app’s usability by getting real-time insights and in-depth analysis of heatmaps drilled down into video replays.
     
  • Understand your user: Heatmap analytics can also be used by the UI/UX designers to gain real insights into user preferences. The designers can see whether the users are navigating the app the way in which it was designed or are they facing any difficulty anywhere. Individual user preferences can also be identified through the mobile app event tracking tool.

  • Redesign your app with ease: It helps the UI/UX designers to address the faulty app design that is compelling the users to perform actions on a non-responsive area of the app. Your designers can uncover the issue on each screen and redesign the app without guessing what the user needs.

To gain a better understanding of how the heatmap tool works, check out the product demo.

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