Exploring Mouse Tracking in User Research

Of all the tools used tools in user research, Mouse Tracking is one of the most widely used. Explore its capabilities and how is currently used in this article.

Author

Kham Chakhap

Date

September 29, 2023

Introduction

There are several different ways of users interacting with a product online and every user journey can be unique in its own right. It depends on factors like user objective, page design, user attention, links, and other elements. Wouldn’t it be useful to understand exactly how users are interacting with your app/website? This would help researchers understand challenges within a product better and ensure user journeys are as seamless as possible.

Understanding users and determining common factors to understand your audience would require you to gather insights with the help of several tools and processes. Emotion and behavioral AI technologies like Mouse Tracking, Facial Coding and Eye Tracking are a few ways of gathering user data. In this article, we will explore Mouse Tracking in detail and how brands use it in user research.

To ensure you can use it to enhance your research process and take more informed decisions, we will touch on the following questions:

What is Mouse Tracking?

Uses of Mouse Tracking

Common features in Mouse Tracking

Limitations and Alternate Tools

What is Mouse Tracking?

Mouse Tracking is the process of gathering user data based on the movement of their mouse or cursor during a defined time. It is a good indicator of how users navigate while exploring a product and if they are facing any issues during that time.

Based on data gathered after a Mouse Tracking test and how users have interacted with the product, you can determine attention levels of users. Insights on how users scroll through a website and how they react to different elements on the page are captured. This enables brands to improve products in a way that removes bottlenecks and create a more seamless user experience by pointing researchers to focus areas for improvement.

Uses of Mouse Tracking

Unlike surveys where data collected is not collected in realtime, Mouse Tracking tends to be more unbiased. Usability testing is one of the key areas where a Mouse Tracking is used to understand user interaction with a product. It can be performed remotely to ensure cost-effectiveness as well.

These are some of the uses of Mouse Tracking:

• Identifying areas in a webpage users interact with the most as well as improve areas which tend to be overlooked.

• Track interaction levels of website elements based on time-spent on different areas.

• Check scrolling and navigation patterns of users.

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Common features in Mouse Tracking

User behaviour can be determined with the use of different features where the mouse cursor movement and mouse clicks can be tracked. This will ultimately give a clear picture to identify areas which get the most attention, elements which go unnoticed, page scroll details, etc.

Including Mouse Tracking in your research has now become a simple process since it is integrated with different research platforms. Below are a few of the common data visualization tools used in Mouse Tracking:

Click maps: Click maps show how mouse clicks are distributed across a website or app. It shows if relevant elements within a page like buttons, links, etc. are getting the expected clicks. It also shows if users are clicking on elements which are not clickable to ascertain necessary changes in page design.

Heat maps: These are highlighted areas within web pages to track cursor placements. It uses colors to show where user attention is most concentrated by showing where the cursor has hovered the longest. The longer a cursor stays in one place, the redder that area tends to be. For example, you can know whether users are focusing on a new CTA button added within a page or not through heat maps.

Scroll maps: These are designed to understand how far users usually scroll when exploring a web page. It provides insights on if pages are too long to scroll down all the way to the bottom or if there are design elements which prevents them from doing so by capturing their attention or causing them to drop out.

Session recordings: These are recordings of users interacting with your product. It can provide a lot of user data for deep insights. Session recordings typically shows detailed user journeys and the challenges they might be facing while navigating.

Limitations and Alternate Tools

While Mouse Tracking might be a novelty to some, most UX and Product designers are familiar with Mouse Tracking. But it comes with limitations. In terms of accuracy, there is a claim that says there is 84%-88% correlation between Mouse Tracking and eye movement. However, a Google paper claims this data is only 32% accurate. Hence, the data derived can be a little unsubstantiated.

However, it remains a fact that Mouse Tracking is one of the cheaper and easier ways to gather unbiased user data for large scale data collection. With the advent of new technologies, there is an alternate tool which captures eye-gaze movement of users. Eye-Tracking technology tracks and measures eye pupil movements to understand where a user is looking at while using a product. It would also record how attentive they are and if they are missing elements a UX or product designer might want to highlight. While both Eye tracking and mouse tracking technologies serve their purpose individually, merging them together in your research efforts will reflect insights which are more reliable and accurate in nature.

Conclusion

While data provided by Mouse Tracking might not be very accurate for certain study objectives, it can be easily validated with additional tools. Integrated platforms like Entropik’s Qatalyst use tools like Mouse Tracking as well as Eye Tracking for user research in addition to other qualitative and quantitative research methods. Together, these data collection methods helps researchers uncover users’ true preferences. This would help optimize and align your product to best suit user needs.

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Supercharge your research with actionable insights faster on Decode's integrated consumer research platform with Insights AI.
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Build the Right Products, the Right Way: Elevate your UX with Qatalyst's integrated user research platform with Insights AI.

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With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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Click on Study templates

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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Start from scratch

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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Add blocks to the content

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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Saving the Template

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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Author Bio

As an intrepid explorer of both physical and intellectual realms, Kham seeks to unravel the intricacies of the human experience and merge them with the transformative power of AI. On odd days, she can be found wandering around trying to find that elusive scenic and quiet café where she can sip on matchas and get lost in the written word.

Kham Chakhap

Product Marketing Specialist

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