Heuristic analysis is an approach to discovering and solving problems based on rules, analysis, estimates, and educated guesses. The heuristic analysis method is relevant when you need to get a quick answer, a signal or find a way out of a situation. An useful illustrative model for the application of the heuristic assessment method is virus detection. When scanning a website, the virus locator software looks for unfamiliar or uncharacteristic definitions, instructions or commands.
Between 2004 to 2021 the search query 'Heuristic Analysis' in Google showed the highest demand was in the USA, Canada and Australia, with indicators of 100, 97 and 91 points (on a 100-point scale) respectively. The peak in popularity was in 2004 when the indicators reached 100 and 62 units. The second highest rise globally was observed ten years later – in December 2014 – when it exceeded 53. After that point, no great high peaks in demand were observed.
Tools for Heuristic Analysis from Plerdy
It is possible to conduct a heuristic assessment of a website's performance using Plerdy tools. The assessment is also used for usability analysis. It analyzes website performance to detect and prevent problems with the usability of web pages, their rankings and conversion rates.
This tool monitors and parses user actions on website pages. Namely: clicks, mouse wheel scrolling and hovering. In addition, the program builds a sequence of clicks on the pages, and will identify effective and ineffective elements.
With the help of Heatmap, we carried out a usability audit of the Ukrposhta website. The company has the largest post office network in the Ukraine – numbering over 11,000. The company's gross income in 2020 amounted to UAH 1,407,872. Our analysis of the company's website operation included the following steps:
- Audit of the start page of the website ukrposhta.ua, of both the mobile and desktop versions.
- A similar audit of the track.ukrposhta.ua page in both versions.
During the check, we found more than 40 errors that affect usability and consequently reduces conversion. Let's summarize the results:
- 89% of clicks by the user are made on the first screen of the website home page, while the rest are not of interest.
- In the mobile version, direct traffic users are interested in the index and search, and in the organic version they are drawn to calculation and design.
From the usability audit results, which were based on the Heatmap, we created many hypotheses concerning what to look for to improve usability. You can view the full case report at this link.
With a heuristic analysis tool, you can easily customize pop-ups without the need for programmers or designers. As a result it is possible to see a decrease in the bounce rate, an increase in CTR up to 30%, and more sales growth. Based on user actions like clicks and closing pop-up forms, you can set-up Google Ads re-marketing. Note that this data is transmitted to Google Analytics.
This tool is an online website analyzer that scans pages daily for SEO errors in the title, description, H1 and Noindex. In addition, it checks the factors that search engines take into account. The result is 0% server load and automatic analysis of more than 1 million pages. Mobile and PC readings made with the Mobile-First Index algorithm are analyzed separately.
- Checking pages with critical errors
- Audit of pages with minor errors
- Analysis of the semantics of pages
- Analysis of the most visited web pages
- Homepage audit
- Checking pages of top categories
The entire analysis was carried out in two versions at once – mobile and PC. At the same time, bugs can be segmented into groups – by the type of problem and equipment (mobile or PC).
Another product for the implementation of heuristic evaluation, this tool records user actions on the website – clicks, mouse movements, cursor inputs and movements. It provides the ability to record pages selectively and group them by type of action, countries of users, and type of traffic.
Designed to track specific goals or user actions using elements of website pages – buttons, images, scroll bars, videos, etc. For advanced analysis, the information can be integrated with Google Analytics.
A tool with which you can easily track and analyze the performance of an online store. It allows you to study indicators for a certain time, demonstrates which elements of a website influences sales and which do not, and also conducts UX analysis.
Plerdy's product is similar to Google Analytics. To compare and demonstrate how they work, our team tested ten online purchases across multiple devices. The results varied slightly. Google Analytics did not report two out of the ten purchases in its report, which in turn affected conversion rates and average order profit. This is 20% of the proceeds of the purchases made in percentage terms, which is important. Miscalculations in the results of the heuristic analysis will affect the choice of subsequent decisions in the development strategy of the online store. There are no such errors in the results of Sales Performance from Plerdy. Check out the detailed report in our publication.
Guide To Running A Heuristic Analysis
For a heuristic analysis, three critical factors need to be assessed – the website's functionality, the quality of the content, and the usability of its design.
The functionality is assessed based on the criteria for user interaction with the site. To carry out the heuristic analysis, the following factors of page perception are taken into account:
- Download speed
- Time to wait before starting to interact with the page
- Visual stability (cumulative content bias)
- Convenience for mobile gadgets
- Intrusive interstitial recommendations
Optimizing the above conditions transforms the website, making it more attractive to users. In the process of interaction, they encounter less discomfort and, ideally, it can be avoided altogether.
Useful and relevant content helps to reach and engage more users, customers or buyers. It's not just about blog articles and posts, but the site's content as a whole. To determine its effectiveness, it is worth analyzing the factors that are the most important – the overall marketing strategy, the symmetry of the target audience's content and the site, the actual process of material implementation, SEO work, and calls-to-action (CTA) advertising strategy. Let's take a quick look at them:
- Marketing strategy. Define it clearly and add Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). By analyzing a website's performance at different funnel stages, find out if the content is aligned with your goals.
- Target audience and content complies with the product. Consider whether the format and content match user requests. Perhaps demonstration videos will be more effective for the niche than publishing articles or vice versa.
- SEO work. Use the tools to analyze and see if meta titles, descriptions, and relevant keywords are popular in searches and to what extent. SEO effectiveness is reflected in rankings.
- CTA. In other words, it is a call to action. Does the content contain compelling invitations such as "Download," "Subscribe," "Buy," "Register," and more?
- Advertising strategy. Promotion should be a significant part of your campaign. Analyze how you are using existing opportunities – email newsletters, social networks and media.
Check these segments promptly using heuristic analysis. This will help you find any flaws and correct them. As a result, the content will reach the right audience and stimulate action.
Design and Layout
Beautiful does not always mean high quality and convenience. The heuristic score for website design quality can vary depending on the type and purpose of a website. To perform an objective and careful heuristic analysis, you need to understand how good the elements of visual communication are. Analytics is carried out according to the following criteria:
- Appointment. If a website page has the task of attracting new customers, it must necessarily contain all links to social networks and a button for subscribing to newsletters.
- Ease of reading. The website layout should follow the principles of visual hierarchy and typography. Consider the order in which the text is presented and the level of legibility. Whether the page is overloaded with information and pictures. This also includes the presence of elements that distract from the main message – they should not be there. Research has shown that having enough white space will improve readability and balance form and function.
- Aesthetics. A subjective concept – what is terrible for one is the most beautiful for another. Well-placed accents, composition, and a good color base are the keys to a timeless design. The style should be consistent with the target audience and their notions of beauty. For example, it is important for a financial web platform to stick to restrained and conservative shades – calm tones symbolize constancy. A kid's website needs a bright, flashy palette.
Design plays a significant role in website promotion when combined with other factors.
The ultimate goal of the process is a convenient and user-friendly path to conversion. Heuristic analysis is a worthwhile tool for efficient use of company resources to help achieve this.