Types of heatmaps or web heat maps


Mouse pointer tracking simulates attention heat maps or eye tracking (explained below) very efficiently, so they are a very efficient tool when it comes to analyzing which elements of our website or application are attractive or useful for our users.

The places on the map where the warmest colors are concentrated will be where users pass the most with the mouse cursor.

To use this type of map, we need a plugin or script installed on the website, which connects to a server where all the mouse movement information is stored on each visit and then captures it in the heat map that we will analyze.

The great DISADVANTAGE of this type of map is that it is not effective on mobile phones or tablets, since they do not have a cursor to track. What does not mean that we can use other types of heat map such as click (tap) or scroll.

Another disadvantage of movement maps is that, despite the fact that the mouse usually coincides with the focus of the user’s attention, this is not always the case (Personally, I use the keyboard a lot to move around the web, so the tracking of the pointer of the mouse would give an erroneous reading of my activity on the site). This must be considered when analyzing this type of maps, so it is not convenient to use them as the only analysis tool.

CLICK maps (or tap on mobile devices)

This type of map shows the points on the page where users click or tap the most with the warmest colors. It should be considered that swipes (drag the screen up on touch devices) are also taken into account by these heat maps.

With this tool, usability problems are usually revealed, such as areas where users click expecting some behavior and there is none, or the opposite case: buttons or links that are not used because they lack attractiveness or do not demonstrate that they are interactive.

Said usability problems are commonly active elements (links or buttons) that are not used, or the opposite case, passive elements that, due to their design or location, make the user understand that they are interactive.

Clicks or taps, being a voluntary action of the users (except for very sporadic and random errors) show very reliable and useful information for behavior analysis.


They are the maps that reflect the areas of the web or application, that throughout the scroll (vertical movement along the interface) in which the largest number of users are concentrated.

As a general rule, the content at the top of the page (visible directly when it is accessed) will be the one that appears more “hot” and as it descends it will become colder.

This type of map allows us a general overview of how much interest our content generates in users, and if it engages them throughout the entire page or only in a certain part of it.


These heatmaps are the most classic and also the most difficult to produce, although their accuracy is formidable.

To do so, we need hardware that tracks the user’s eye, that records the pattern of their eye movement when using your website or application.

This equipment, apart from being very expensive, allows the study to be done one by one (depending on the number of glasses available) so that despite being very precise it is almost unattainable for most webmasters.

Another disadvantage of this heat map is that, when performed while being watched, users may behave differently from what they normally do on the site or application.

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Gerard Heperd

Gerard Heperd