Web Analytics

UX experts at the Nielson Norman Group have identified the three key uses for analytics data: to spot potential problems; to identify potential causes of problems; and to back up your findings from qualitative research. These two articles are an excellent introduction:

At UofG we currently have access to three web analytics tools, so there are vast troves of data available. Make sure you have a specific question you want to answer before you dive in, otherwise it's easy to get lost or overwhelmed. Some possible questions:

  • Which of my pages is most popular at different times of year?
  • Is this page helping people solve their problem the way we think it should?
  • Are people even finding this page?
  • How do people get to my homepage and what do they do when they get there?
  • Do people behave differently when visiting my site on a mobile device compared to a PC?

Google Analytics

You can monitor a huge range of data about your website users through Google Analytics. Some of the most useful reports for UX researchers are:

  • Content Drilldown: Great for analysing your information architecture, for example you may find that one subsection of your site gets the majority of the views, in which case you can consider expanding that section, or promoting it up the site hierarchy
  • Navigation Summary: For a given page, this report shows you where users came from and where they went next, which can help you identify dead ends or quirks in your site navigation
  • Device Category: Find out whether you need to make your content more mobile-friendly (tip: you do!)
  • Pageviews / Unique Pageviews: Rarely useful in isolation but you can combine this data with other types to reveal trends, or to monitor and compare patterns of access before and after you make a change to a page

Google Analytics works across the whole University website. To request access, contact the Web Team.

Find out more

Hotjar: heatmaps and session recordings


"Understand what users want, care about and interact with on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behavior."

Hotjar heatmaps combine the scrolls, taps and clicks of 1000 (or more) anonymous users to show how people are interacting with your webpage. This can highlight issues with page structure, and is great way to check the impact of any changes you make.

Side-by-side heatmaps of the old and new Student Printing landing page, showing improvements in the findability of the most popular content

Session recordings

"Identify usability issues by watching anonymised recordings of real visitors on your site as they click, tap, move their cursor and navigate across pages."

These are a helpful way to get a feel for how people are using - or perhaps failing to use - your site. You can set various triggers for Hotjar to anonymously record a user's journey through particular webpages, and their interactions with the content. It's a bit like looking over someone's shoulder while they browse, but not quite as insightful as you can only guess at what they're trying to do based on their actions.

Find out more


Currently Hotjar only works on internally-facing webpages, so those within glasgow.ac.uk/myglasgow.

To request access, contact Robert Brown


Tools, dashboards and reports to help you improve your content quality, SEO, accessibility and more.