Mouseflow Review

Mouseflow heat mapOMG, have you seen Mouseflow yet? It’s my new favorite analytics tool.

I have bragging rights to click analytics at my institution. After seeing Tabatha Farney’s presentation on click analytics at LITA a few years ago, the first thing I did was purchase a subscription to Crazy Egg and began using click analytics as a central part of my user analysis. After giving a presentation to the data managers group on my campus, many others, including our marketing department also got interested and now they’ve come back to me with a new tool: Mouseflow.

Mouseflow is basically a better mouse trap to Crazy Egg. It does all of the heat maps, scroll-maps and in-page analysis you get with Crazy Egg, but it adds on top of this recordings of actual mouse movement on your website(s). That’s right, as creepy as it sounds, you can place the code onto your web pages and then watch actual videos of users’ mouse pointers as they move across the screen, stumble over trouble areas and click through from page to page.

I ran this on our research guides for a day to test the tool. The result were dozens of recordings of actual user sessions on our research guides. It’s as if you’re sitting behind someone and watching their movement around your site. You get to see where they pause, where they click, how long it takes for them to decide where to go and even watch them try, fail and fail and then either succeed or give up. You can even tell by the movement of the user mouse (often) where they have stopped to read or where they are lost.

It’s fascinating. It’s powerful. It’s possibly a violation of privacy (more on that in a second).

On the back-end, Mouseflow lets you filter by IP range (good for filtering out your staff) and control several parameters to improve your data quality. And you have varying account levels so you can find one that fits your needs and budget. With a paid account, you can download your most telling videos.

It’s truly remarkable for analyzing your site architecture, designs, content. And you don’t need to recruit users for a formal study. But your IRB might still have some concerns as might any regulators or other privacy advocates who might be minding your store. So you’ll (and we’ll) have to do a little due diligence before we roll this out.

Still, Mouseflow does allow you to NOT capture IP information, adding another layer of anonymity to your data. So on the surface, it does seem to be something you could probably use without violating FERPA…except for one thing: I’ve heard it records what is typed into forms (visually), which was the primary reason our marketing was interested in Mouseflow. I didn’t see this as our research guides have displayed:none the internal search boxes in LibGuides. But this could definitely complicate the approval process.

So, check it out. The first 100 recordings are free!


2 thoughts on “Mouseflow Review

  1. Thanks for the great review on Mouselfow! We just started our free trial and for the most party are happy with it. Question for you though, how/where are you able to filter by IP address? I don’t see that as an option within their recording filters but would love to be able to do that as well.

    • You can filter IPs under each Website. To do this:

      1. Log in and navigate to the Websites tab
      2. you’ll see a list of the sites you’ve set up.
      3. Click the edit link beside your site
      4. You’ll see an exclude IP Addresses box, where you can add IP addresses you want to be excluded from your recordings

      Note: There is no way to add IP ranges. You’ll have to list each one, separated by commas.

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