Yes it is, according to Stephane Hamel. However he was looking at it from a slightly different point of view than from how we will be looking at it within a publishing company. So how will we be looking at it differently?
Well for a start most of our site isn’t form based application, it is content driven. However some of our site is form based and this is where active viewing can become powerful in working out where our users are leaving our form pages. If a page is too long then we’ll see constant drop out throughout the page. If there is a question that a user doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to answer, then we’ll see a big drop off there too. Everyone leaving at the first question? They probably don’t see the benefits of filling in the form.
For the content pages on our sites HBX can be even more useful, especially when looking at home pages. So you want to know what to put up on your home page? Well lets look at what is there already and how it is doing. By overlaying the links that our users have clicked ontop of the actual home page itself using the links button at the top of the active viewing screen (). New stories have had no clicks on, whereas the older stories are still ranked.
Also worth noting that the other stories that users have been clicking on appear in the boxes at the bottom and the nav at the left. It’s also worth noting that these are ranks of links that have been clicked on and are still on the page. In some cases, the most clicked link may no longer be on the page. So if we know which stories are being clicked on we can work out what to put as the lead story and which stories should be located around it.
Whilst this is looking at a day so far so that we can work short term into what we’d like the stories on our home page to look like, we can also look long term. Which navigation gets more clicks? More importantly which navigation doesn’t get many clicks? Abbreviations and acronyms in navigation are often confusing. You can usually find if a navigation item is confusing because it will have an unusually low volume of clicks.
Next level down for active viewing? Well lets look at the links that users have been clicking within articles. This is a key method for our sites for engaging the users in terms of stickiness and for giving the users what they want. There are of course many SEO reasons as well.
And then there are the other reasons you should use the active viewing, like wanting to know how many site page views/visits/unique users, individual page views/visits/unique users, more importantly individual page names and a load of other things that I don’t have time to go into here.