Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Tracking User Click Preferences Revealed

Sponsored Links

ClickTracks 3.x
= breakthrough tool
Software Tool
USD $ 495

This is one of those fresh, innovative and effective tools which make our increasingly complex design and marketing work, once again easier to understand and see through. Clicktracks is a powerful and well designed application which allows the superimposing of users navigational preferences onto actual web site pages.

With ClickTracks you can see what visitors to your web site have clicked on. The stats are displayed as highly legible captions next to your web page actual links. Must see to believe.

When utilizing ClickTracks small bar graphs are displayed next to each one of the links on your web pages. One link will say 35%, one will say 24%, and probably several ones will also say 1%-2%. Where is the usefulness of using Clicktracks?
ClickTracks allows you to spot immediately and with extreme ease parts of the site that are not accessed or that have been avoided by visitors/customers. With the same ease you can pinpoint successful strategies and editorial solutions implemented on certain pages.

No matter in which field you operate this is important information to gather if you are serious about improving actual results and increasing the effectiveness of your communication goals. And here you have a tool that allows you and others to see through the data and understand at-a-glance where people are really clicking on your site.

While it is true that much of this information can be accessed through Log Analysis and Live Tracking tools, the way the data could be accessed through this analysis and reporting tools did not offer an easy way to interpret it in a simple and intuitive way. Better yet, while those tools do provide useful insight into visitors selection patterns and choices, Clicktracks provides a viewport on their preferences when provided with a list of choices as it happens on any Web page.

Clicktracks is a work of art inasmuch as it provides a new view of something known, and it allows to explore a familiar realm in new and useful ways.

To make sense out of a WebTrends report companies use external consultants, because though there are a lot of graphs, the real picture is not so evidently shown.

ClickTracks is essentially a visual exploratory tool to better analyze server log data and understand user behaviour and preferences. ClickTracks is particularly useful to:

a) Internet and Online Marketing Experts
b) Web Designers, Interface and Navigation Designers
c) Information Architects
d) Usability Consultants

a) Internet and Online Marketing Experts. Marketing consultants can offer quality custom reports to their customers showing data that cannot be gathered and made immediately understandable in no other way. Experts can utilize ClickTracks data to pinpoint areas of the site that need greater support or improvement. Marketers can accurately measure the effects of their campaign tactics.

b) Web designers have now a truly "user-centered" tool that allows them to have an immediate feedback on the design decisions they make. They can see how through changes in design affect user behaviour and preference on the site. They can finally learn from their own customers. Designers can test alternative link solutions and eliminate the ones that aren't used.

c) Information Architects. For Information Architects ClickTracks can be a fascinating instrument of analysis. If you are looking at improving design effectiveness through content organization and site architecture, wouldn't you want to see what kind of patterns users draw around your site? In any user-centered effort to provide a better service there should be thorough and ongoing analysis of user preferences and behaviour patterns.

d) Usability Consultants. ClickTracks provides a useful alternative to expensive usability research budgets by allowing a low-cost usability analysis tool. ClickTracks can be employed in focus groups as well as in usability testing groups to measure responses to alternative designs and interface prototypes.

ClickTracks allows three different views of the data analyzed:

1) Browser View
This is the default ClickTracks view and allows you to see web pages with statistical data relating to visitors clicking preference superimposed on the actual links.

2) Page Analysis View
In this view ClickTracks provides some detailed information, displayed as line graphs, relating to the specific web page being browsed in ClickTracks. The specific statistics that can be accessed are:

a)Users that see this page. The percentage of users that see this page any time during their visit, regardless of the order pages are visited.

b)Average time at this page. Number of seconds spent looking at this page. Does not include those visits that end at this page because view time cannot be determined from the log file.

c)Average time to this page. Number of seconds visitors are on the site before they reach this page for the first time.

d)Users entered at this page.

e)Users exited at this page.

3) Site Map View

The site map view offers a visual view of the web site with some particular information elements that help intuitively understand and read through the data. For example, the connecting lines in the site map show different thicknesses, signifying the amount of visitors that have clicked on them. In addition, the boxes are ordered so that the most common paths are centered left and right of the current page, with gradually less frequent paths spreading above and below this. If you hover over a line, the number of times that link was followed, as a number and as a percentage of visits to the current page, will be displayed.

ClickTracks is also very easy to install and run, once you have access to your server log files. Without those you cannot do anything with this application. ClickTracks requires no software installation on your server, and runs locally on your hard disk. It is fast, reliable and in my experience mostly bug free.

ClickTracks customer support is excellent and while I have not been bale to test it I trust its claim to be able to respond to your email inquiries generally within 2 hours.

Three winning factors:

a) Effective information display. Where ClickTracks draws the line with other products in the same category is by taking on itself the process of converting data into information.
Tremendous potential lies in this area for all information processing companies in whichever field they are working. It will be HitsLink, CoolStats, Hitbox, Superstats and WebTrends next challenge to leap ahead of the group by starting to address this need for allowing the customer to explore and navigate information in more intuitive ways. While some efforts and good results have been made in this direction, information displays of live trackers and log analysis tools tend to remain over logged with data and it must be the user to make sense of most of what is displayed.

b) Intuitive. By placing information in context. This is a major relevant factor in making ClickTracks so good.
Information is absolutely rewarding when it is provided just-when-I-need-it and when it is in context with the setting where I need to use it. ClickTracks does this and it does it well.

c) Easy to use, relatively simple to install and configure.
Made exemption for the first time you will need to download your Web server access log files (if you have never done this before in person - but you can still delegate this job to a more technical person), ClickTracks is easy to use and straightforward to install. No complex menus, no rows of unexplicable buttons. Everything is self-explanatory.

It also works with most dynamic sites including the ones powered by ASP, PHP, JSP, etc.

It allows ad-hoc and custom reports in which specific criteria and filtering selections can be made to identify only specific target groups of users/customers.

Client-side application. Nothing to install on your server.
Fast performing, speedy.

Well designed interface.


Exceptional customer support.

Lifetime license. Buy it and keep it forever.


ClickTracks requires a powerful machine and Internet Explorer installed on your PC.

Display of small graphs is not always optimal. At times the graphs cover up the while link making it impossible to be read.

Though simple and straightforward in its use, ClickTracks allows the use of powerful analysis and filtering tools which require due time to be appreciated and learned.

Apparently expensive. Considering the no non-sense license and price of competing or rather complementary tools its price is indeed not bad at all. This is evidently for people who are serious about their online success. Not just another statistics maker to throw in the face of somebody.

Does not provide typical log analysis data such as Browser type, Operating System, other technographics, ISP of origin, time/hour/of day, unique visitors, countries, etc.

Download a free 30-day fully working trial copy of ClickTracks 3 at:
(the only feature that has been disabled is printing)

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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, December 3 2002, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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