What is a click test and why should it be part of your UX toolkit?
Whether it’s evaluating a current website, testing a prototype, or iterating throughout the product development cycle, click tests are a fast and cost-effective way to ensure your design works for your users.
So if you’re new to the world of clickmaps, heatmaps and darkmaps, let’s explore click testing and how it can benefit your product development…
What is a click test?
Click tests are a quick and simple way to test and validate wireframes, designs and prototypes of websites, apps, or mobile webpages.
The test presents participants with a static image or screenshot of a page from the site or app, before asking questions such as, “Where would you click to trigger a specific action/navigate to another page/open a piece of content?”
The places on the screen where a user ‘clicks’ are recorded for post-test analysis, with the first place they select being the most common measurement (this is often referred to as ‘first-click testing’). The results generated can take the visual form of a heatmap (see image below) or clickmap or darkmap.
Clicks tests can be done on everything from high-res images to scanned doodles on a bar napkin. Just make sure you dry it first or you’ll make the scanner all sticky with your Manhattan.
Why do you need to conduct a click test?
Click testing has a whole variety of use cases. You can find out how your visitors behave on a webpage from their very first click, by asking them specific questions about their behaviour, comprehension and/or preference. For instance…
Behavioural questions include:
- Where would you expect to click to find the information you’re looking for?
- Where would you click to navigate to another specific page?
- Where would you click to progress to the next step in a customer journey (for example, through the checkout process)?
- How would you access a specific piece of content?
Comprehension questions can be:
- What does this icon mean?
- What is unclear?
- What is clear?
- What helps you make a decision?
Preference questions can include:
- Click on what you like
- Click on what you don’t like
- Click on your top three elements
- What needs to change?
In answering these types of questions, your visitors can help improve the usability of a website by showing you how they actually interact with a design, showing you where they expect to find stuff.
The results generated by click tests, often in the form of a heatmap, can also help define what parts of your website grab the most attention and therefore improve the visual hierarchy of its elements.
In fact, if you’d like to see a click test in action, why not take one yourself…
What are the other benefits of click testing?
A great benefit of click testing is that you don’t even need to have a website up and running to verify your ideas. Along with live sites, you can also test prototypes and wireframes. Even rough paper sketches will do – negating the need for a high-resolution screenshot and resulting in valuable user feedback early in the design phase.
Click testing is great for making better, more informed design decisions when developing a new page or product. This includes carrying out click tests on multiple design variants to understand which one best meets the key objectives of that design. Basically it’s like A/B testing but without the cost of development work or risking a poor design being live on your website.
This is also one of the reasons click testing is great for trying out your more experimental designs vs. something more traditional.
When should you run a click test?
Click testing is an ideal method to evaluate and iterate concepts with users at an early stage, allowing research and design to run concurrently, saving you both time and money throughout the product lifecycle.
For an in-depth and entertaining guide to getting started with user research, read our free-to-download, comprehensive ebook ‘User Experience Research 101’
What results do you get in click test?
Click tests generate several useful results. By designating specific areas as ‘success’ and ‘non success’ the test can create ‘effectiveness ratios’. Click tests can also generate heatmaps, darkmaps and clickmaps offering several ways to visually understand where users are focusing – which is handy for quickly communicating results to stakeholders.
Furthermore, user clicks can be broken down into first clicks, first number of clicks, or last clicks to understand where users are clicking over time.
UserZoom has recently overhauled its Click Test Results capabilities, as highlighted in the video below, and we’ll discuss the various results on offer in more detail after the jump…
Heatmaps are an immediate visual clue to how users have interacted with your webpage. It’s an aggregated report that visually displays what parts of a page are looked at, clicked on, focused on and interacted with by your online visitors by displaying more heat with each click.
Darkmaps are heatmaps that darken the page and show more light coming through depending on where users are clicking, This can make it easier to visualize areas that users focus on.
Clickmaps can be produced from the aggregated results of all participants. These are visualizations of each individual click to show exactly where users clicked on the page.
The test results will show the exact number of participants and percentages who clicked on a success area and non-success area, which can be shown on a graph or as a pie chart.
Want to learn more about Click Tests?
In these lessons, we’ll look at how to build and analyze a Click Test study which asks, ‘Can users find the review section in the first click?’ We’ll explain best practices for using static screen shot images in your studies, show you how to customize and analyse a heat map, as well as highlight the key information you need to look out for. We’ll also then demonstrate what the impact these insights can have on a website design.