When I first heard of this little snippet of code, I was excited but dubious. In today’s online climate, tracking your visitors’ browsing habits using Google Analytics is assumed. You know where your visitors come from, you know what they looked at. What you don’t know is how.
Inspectlet is nothing short of insane. It’s the missing piece of the puzzle. It allows you to watch visitors browse your site in real-time, as if you were looking over their shoulder. It records cursor movements, mouse clicks, content viewed and words typed. These sessions are then saved for later playback. It’s a little creepy, sure, but an invaluable tool in the improvement of your site. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m probably going to watch your session too.
As designers, we often make design decisions based on assumptions; we don’t immediately know if these decisions were the right ones. Inspectlet confirms that our assumptions were valid, or, more importantly, indicate that they were way off.
What this offers you and I is a real understanding of how your visitors browse your site. You can then use this information to improve the design of your site and in turn, increase the number of sales or enquiries you receive.
Last year, we launched a redesign of our site. On our homepage were six examples of our best work. Users would click on a portfolio piece, then use the ‘next’ buttons to scroll through the remaining five images. What our visitors failed to notice was the dedicated portfolio page which contained a larger selection of our work. You could navigate to the portfolio page at the top of the site, but many missed this button – a failing on our part.
After we discovered that visitors were frustrated with this, we optimised the design. We added a ‘see more of our work’ call-to-action beneath the sample of my work and made this button wiggle a little to catch the user’s attention). Suddenly, the number of people viewing our full portfolio tripled.
On a separate occasion, a client asked me if I had received her enquiry through a contact form on my site. I hadn’t, but she insisted she had sent it.
I was able to scroll back through my visitor history and watch her session play out. I could see the message appear as she was typing and I was able to determine why I hadn’t received it. She typed her email incorrectly and missed the error message that the form displayed. Not only could I now read her unsent enquiry, but I was able to make the error message more prominent to avoid a repeat occurrence.
These events are perfect examples of how we can use Inspectlet to increase the usability of our sites. By adjusting two failures of my own design, I was able to increase the number of people contacting me for my services. Inspectlet is an utterly invaluable tool. It’s something I’ll be installing on many of my new builds to ensure my client’s sites perform at their best.
It’s safe to use, too. While the software records how your site is being used, it doesn’t anything happening outside of your site. Similarly, password entries are obscured for privacy.
Try it for yourself, free at inspectlet.com.