7 Incredibly Useful Tools for Evaluating a Web Design

leadin - analyticsAn effective web design is one in which your users are able to find information quickly and in a logical fashion.

Do they visit the content you want them to visit? Are they looking in the right places of your web page? Are you able to keep your user’s attention, or do they just leave quickly?

It’s not just about the content either. If your design loads slowly – or if moving from one section to another takes a long time – it affects the user’s experience.

These things can be the make-or-break factors between a user clicking on a link to find more information, or the back button to find it elsewhere.

Some things to consider:

If you’re interested in analyzing and optimizing your page layout – here’s some extremely useful tools that you can use to help.

1. ClickHeat

ClickHeat is an open source visual tool for showing “hot” and “cold” zones of a web page. It allows you to see which spots users click on most, and which spots are being ignored.

ClickHeat - Demonstration screenshot

It’s very easy to implement on your website, you only have to include an external JavaScript file.

Download: Clickheat on

2. Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg offers a myriad of analytical tools to help you visualize what visitors are doing.

Crazy Egg - Screenshot of confetti overlay

Features include: Confetti – allowing you to see what people are clicking on based on certain factors such as their operating system and where they came from, Overlay – providing you with tons of data about particular links, and Report sharing – enabling you to share the data with team members and clients.

The free version only allows 4 pages to be tracked – so use your top landing pages to get the most data.

3. YSlow for Firebug

A key tenet of a strong design is that, not only should information be presented in a logical and elegant fashion, but that it must also be served quickly, with very little delay.

YSlow for Firebug - Performance Grade and breakdown of Yahoo! homepage

YSlow for Firebug is a free tool for Mozilla Firefox that gives you information about your front-end design to see if it performs well. It gives you a letter grade (A through F) and outlines your web page’s trouble spots.

It’s based on the Yahoo! Developer Network’s “Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site” initially written by Steve Souders, who was once the Chief of Performance at Yahoo! and is now working over at Google on web performance and open source initiatives.

Downloads: Firebug extension for Firefox (required) and YSlow.

4. clickdensity

clickdensity is a full suite of usability analysis tools that will help you assess your web page design.

clickdensity - screenshot of hover map

You can use heat maps showing where users click on the most, hover maps – which shows people scrolling over links but not clicking on them, and A/B Tests which allows you to change certain page elements to see which style is more effective.

The free subscription give you 5,000 clicks and only one page and one site to monitor.

5. ClickTale

ClickTale offers a lot of user data pertaining to how visitors use your website.

ClickTale - Heat map

There are plenty of things you can look at such as average time it takes for a user to click on a link, a user’s hesitation on clicking a link, hover to click ratio, and much more. It also provides detailed reports and charts on your users’ monitor sizes to better optimize your web page design to cater for the typical visitor.

6. Clicky

Perhaps the most interesting feature that Clicky has is its real-time tracking and monitoring feature, called Spy (check out the demo here).

Clicky - Spy Data

Besides Spy, there’s a host of other analytics data you can look at such as user Actions – which records click data from your users and Visitors – providing you user data.

7. Google Analytics

One of the best free services that Google offers is Google Analytics and probably the most well-known analytics tool. It’s incredibly easy to install and offers plenty of user and content data to help you learn more about your web pages’ performance.

Google Analytics - Site Overlay feature

It has a feature called Site Overlay, which gives you a visual representation of the popular places your users like to click on. It also offers data on bounce rates and your top exit pages (to see what pages make users leave).

So there they are, some of the best tools in the market to help you troubleshoot and optimize your page layout. In the end, it’s a combination of great content, as well as how you present this content — that will lead to an effective design.

This was published on Apr 20, 2008


Almakos Apr 21 2008

Amazing. I didn’t know such tools exist. especially for free.

Nice article, I princpally use Analytics, Clicky and Statcounter. I’ve also used reinvigorate ( in the past who also have a nice real time desktop application you can install and it can trigger a “chi-ching” sound on your desktop when you make a sale – nice :)

I’m gonna check out clickheat though – looks nice

Good list. I personally run heat click on my sever with php my visits. It’s good to see where people are trying to click on my site for navigation.

AndyEd Apr 21 2008

You might also appreciate Stomper Scrutinizer — it’s a vision simulation embedded in a browser to help raise consciousness on the impact of design and even to conduct usability evaluations.

Carlo of 77Lab Apr 21 2008

Great Post Jacob!
ClickHeat is amazing!

Tony Chester Apr 21 2008

Nice list here. We used to use Crazy Egg quite a bit but it started acting all wonky for about a week so we pulled it. This was about two or three months ago and it mainly was taking forever to load; therefore the page would never finish loading. Maybe we will revisit them again.

Copes Flavio Apr 21 2008

Very nice list list, I especially like Crazy Egg :)

Pagealizer Apr 21 2008

For landing page metrics try
Pagealizer helps site owners get insight on how powerful their site content is. We show you in great detail how long people stay on your page (effective bounce rate), how far they scrolled down the page and where they clicked.

Jacob Gube Apr 21 2008

@Pagealizer – that’s a spiffy app.

For those interested, check out the demo page here:

The free version looks very generous too… you get all the analytical data, the only limitations are: 200 clicks are tracked and no SSL support.

Thank you for sharing!

Josh Mock Apr 21 2008

I’ve tried almost all of those tools at one time or another and would say that Google Analytics, CrazyEgg and YSlow have been the three that stand out even among these.

elamb Apr 21 2008

Swizzle fa Shizzle, my nizzle.

Great set of tools… YSlow is great and ClickHeat produces interesting results… Google Analytics is a must have for my business – Thanks!

Acronyms Apr 22 2008

I’m already using Crazy Egg, YSlow and Analytics. Thanks for the rest.

Alexei Apr 22 2008

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! :-)
now using in Russia too!

Elijah Apr 22 2008

Goodness I wasn’t aware of that site analyzer from analytics, thank you!

Rajasekaran Apr 22 2008

Wonderful lists for site monitoring tools but you missed to list another great tool at which shows the statistics very good.

sksee82 Apr 22 2008

This is an excellent article. Kudos for compiling these tool and providing a brief yet easy to understand explanation.

cchana Apr 22 2008

some very useful tools, especially yslow, which i hope will help to improve the performance of a few sites i’m working on!

Tim Igoe Apr 22 2008

Cool selection of tools – Its very useful to see where users are clicking on your sites :)

ncdeveloper Apr 22 2008

Crazy Egg is NOT for a production website by any means. I use it for the EPA websites and while it looks nice and flashy, it is not accurate at all after a few weeks. The counts just seem to go loopy after a few weeks. Support is just as weak. Every time I called, it sounded as if I woke the guy up or pulled him away from a tv show. Obviously a small company that was unprepared for moderate to high volume. If you have clients that want a real and accurate heatmap, look elswhere.

JB1ker Apr 22 2008

YSLOW rules

Fubiz Apr 22 2008


doodigger Apr 22 2008

Thanks for the education! Sooo much to learn!

deelirium Apr 22 2008

Clicky is amazing! I’ve also gotten a kick out of Robot Replay

It records your visitors actual cursor movements so you can replay them and see how they are viewing the page. Creepy, but fun nonetheless.

rpgchat Apr 22 2008

Great tips! Thanks a ton, I hadn’t used YSLOW before…

Jacob Gube Apr 22 2008

@deelirium: Awesome share. The cool feature with RobotReplay is the “Form Replay” feature, which provides you data on how users fill out your web forms. Here’s the direct link to the video demonstration of Form Replay:

It’s free, but I haven’t tried it out yet.

UPickReviews Apr 22 2008

Ok, I must say you rock!
Great tools.. I love Click Heat, its opensource… First time I’ve ever seen a tool like this as an open source. Great stuff!

Graphic Design News Apr 22 2008

great list, I wanna test out Click Tale I’ve heard a lot about it.

Justin Apr 22 2008

Great set of tools. Ive used analytics but the click heat is a great open source tool.

I’ll be using these tools very soon. Thanks for finding them out :)

I’ve used Anayltics, and Clicky before, but none of the others. Clickheat looks promising so far. Easy to integrate into Drupal with the module.

Jacob Gube Apr 22 2008

@Graphic Design News: Hey Gino, thanks for dropping by, and I like the new look of

@Tony Chester and ncdeveloper: Thanks for sharing your experiences with Crazy Egg. I tested the application on Six Revisions, and from my (albeit brief) testing it worked well.

Patrick Apr 23 2008

Has anybody else had problems with Crazyegg’s system being down? We use to use the paid service but had to rip the code off of our pages as it would prevent our pages from loading when Crazyegg was having problems.


I use Statcounter because it is free and very easy.

Chris Apr 23 2008

That clickheat and yslow tool looks amazingly cool.

marianna Apr 24 2008

I tried “crazy egg” to my blog and I found the interface of the reports / results user – friendly and easy to use. I like the fact that it has different options as confetti and heatmap to view where the users are mainly focus.
Thanks for the nice evaluation tools!!!

SivaramanB Apr 24 2008

With these tools interaction with static files is increased.It helps to explore more with out hard modification.It helps lot.

I’ve tried a few of these out and only problem I’ve had is, at least for me, CrazyEgg has slowed my site down in terms of load time. Firefox sits there with “Transferring from” or whatever for almost a minute. Anyone else had this problem?

Jacob Gube Apr 26 2008

Looks like CrazyEgg, for the most part, is giving people problems. Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I visited their site about a couple of days ago and it timed out.

The one advantage of CrazyEgg that attracted me the most is their visualization reports; they are extremely eye-catching and easy to understand. As such, they’re perfect for presentations — for example, when you’re pitching to a new client or meeting with an existing one.

Erika Apr 27 2008

Now, I must say that I was five minutes away from paying for the same type of services that ClickHeat provides…. so I’m glad I saw this site before I placed my order! Thanks a ton!

CrazyEgg had some nice tools indeed, I hope they fix their server/speed issues in the future so I can make better use of them. The one out of this list I am most happy with is ClickHeat, mostly because its a local file. I’d already been using Analytics. Clicky was also fairly decent, although not much information concerning web design, more about the visitors in general.

i have tried the heat maps from clickheat and crazyegg and they both are highly useful in conjunction with a standard analytics program like google analytics or webtrends

the bit analytics companies are dropping the ball with heatmap charting

Web Design Cambridge May 03 2008

Great tools…if I may add one I personally love:

Fun Quizzes May 04 2008

Holy cow click heat is great for my ad placement I really appreciate the reco’s

website design May 05 2008

some very useful tools, especially yslow, which i hope will help to improve the performance of a few sites i’m working on!

shook_1 May 15 2008

You forgot Web Developer Plug-in for Firefox browser

Wonderful list!

d3str03R Jun 07 2008

Huur! This is wonderful listing.

James Alexander Jun 11 2008

Highly informative post. Looking forward to testing some of the analytics software. May come back on “Fashion versus Focus” if relevent. Thank Rev. J. Smith (of Hacking Christianity) for the tip via Entrecard. ps I have no intention of indulging in religious warfare).



Technoarchive Jun 11 2008

i found out also as useful

Google Analytics is the best. The report is delivered by email, no need to login to Google.

danglingwrangler Jun 19 2008

Gratifying list – Jaocob. Used many mentioned, but your insight and viewer comments make your site a frequent visit.

Share what you know… learn what you don’t Jul 02 2008

Great link ! Thanks so much

SEO Honolulu Aug 02 2008

Fantastic list. 2 other sites well worth mentioning would be the analytics package from which is pretty thorough in detailing site activity, and also, for those who like to analyze long tail keyword data there would be to handle that.

Great stuff, keep up the great work :D

Google’s Website Optimizer belongs on your list, utilizing A/B-testing or multivariate testing is a great way to test, compare and refine your content or design.

Samwel Aug 11 2008

Try free download in order to monitor web traffic in realtime by sound.

securecyber Aug 27 2008

I love Hitmap and now testing ClickTale.

We use the WebStatsAdvisor service for all analytics. It is simple, comprehensive, delivers the data on your own schedule, and the data is really meaningful instead of some numbers that in most of the cases have no value but the general statistics. Looking at weekly reports, I see where we have to improve the SEO and where the improvements work. If you are intersted:
Yes, it costs a couple of bucks per month but well worth our spending. I use about 10 other free (and not so) services but stopped on this one. We also installed in for several of our clients.

After all, the best method to evaluate the web design is customers’ opinion. Sometimes, you get the opinions about the part of design that you even didn’t think about…

I’m wondering if anybody knows whether or not you can use more than one of these tools on your site effectively, without creating any conflicts. Most of these analytics tools will state that their tool should be the only one used on a given website, or else there could be javascript conflicts or whatever. I’m just wondering if anybody uses a combination of these tools and if they’ve run into any problems doing that. It would be interesting to see the differences between statistics provided by one tool compared with another. If anybody has any knowledge on the topic, please share it with the rest of us. Thanks!

Olaf Nöhring Sep 08 2008

I suggest for user tracking to look at tracewatch (free!):

Patricia Sep 08 2008

Great list. Also take a look at Free and paid stats for your site. I haven’t tried it yet but it sounds like a great tool.

Filmfront: Film, TV & Kino Sep 12 2008

great job! really usefull stuff!

Carrie Sep 22 2008

Great info, and love Google Analytics!

Alex Centeno Sep 27 2008

We use Google Analytics for all of our clients and have used a couple others in this list. Sometimes I feel that the information from CrazyEgg is not that accurate anymore…


Google analytics is a pretty good tool. I setup Clicky the other day and think it is a really good tool. You can easily see what path a user has taken.

I am not that fond of crazy egg. Used it in the past and you can only use it to track a few pages at a time.

Great Article!

Goldie Nov 02 2008

These are some great tools! I probably use around 4 of them on a regular basis, v.good post.

WP King Nov 02 2008

I think the crazy egg tool is a great idea! Looking forward to trying some of these out. Nov 09 2008

Don’t forget the fantastic Woopra ( which let’s you (among a million othere things) watch your visitors’ actions live, as they click around your site

Gazikent Nov 11 2008

great list, I wanna test out Click Tale I’ve heard a lot about it.

מדריך Nov 29 2008

Useful Tools for Evaluating a Web Design
great list,i think i will use it


ClickTale provides so much more than what is written… you can get real videos of users browsing your site, form analytics, attention heatmaps, etc

Mikko Jan 08 2009

So cool applications, thanks a lot for this article!

André Wegner Feb 23 2009

Concerning Clickheat you might want to check this report:

Anonymous Feb 25 2009

Great tips and tools, Thanks.

Altın Fiyatları May 02 2009

Google Analytics is the best. The report is delivered by email, no need to login to Google.

Posicionamiento Natural May 18 2009

Thanks for the tools. Other tool is for a Keyword Typo Generator, Enter a keyword or key-term into the box above and this tool will generate a list of suggestions for likely human-misspellings and typos.


Just Stumbled this site, great information, am going to subscribe to your feed

Tiffany Taylor Jul 01 2009


Bürostuhl Oct 26 2009

I was searching for a crazyegg alternative, because they arent any free versions anymore. And Ive found it. Thank you

Guido Tapia Jan 31 2010


Great list, I’ve just created a new product similar to some of the ones above it has web site heat maps for clicks but also mouse activity. It has a few other modules you may be interested in also. Please have a look as the product is in limited release mode and would love feedback at this early stage.


Guido Tapia

valeraz Mar 17 2010

Thanks Jacob for useful list.

Jason Apr 25 2010

Some useful Tools for Evaluating a Web Design. Thanks for the list

Mouseflow May 03 2010

You should try that gives you heatmaps on mouse movements and clicks, but more importantly records whole visitor sessions (including mouse movements, clicks, scroll events and keystrokes) and lets you watch the whole thing in your browser.

There are free plans as well as paid ones.

And Ive found it. Thank you

Sensei Jul 13 2010

If you want heatmaps for mouse movements and clicks (plus a whole set of overlay based web analytics features), take a look at Overstat ( where the entire product works as an overlay on your website, which makes it very user-friendly.

Pixelbox Jul 18 2010

Excellent Article, Added to favs, keep up the good work.

anime Oct 09 2010

The most important for designing web templates and slicing of the design into html and css is Adobe photoshop.

Michael Gunner Jan 07 2011

I signed up for a trial with Clickdensity but I find their reporting questionable. Additionally, their own data doesn’t even match up. It also doesn’t match up with the data of any other analytics tool.

Barry Mar 25 2011

excellent. Thank you

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