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How to spot and analyze rage clicks to understand customer behavior and improve UX

If you’ve ever been frustrated by an element on a website that doesn’t respond to your clicks (no matter how many times you try), you’re probably already familiar with the concept of rage-clicking—which is a good thing! Understanding your website visitors’ frustration means you can empathize with them.

UX design and analysis
PX insights
Behavior analytics

Last updated

1 Jun 2023

When your visitors encounter usability issues, bugs, or broken elements on your site, you can use rage clicks as a tool to quickly identify what to change to give them a better experience. We show you how in this piece by covering:

What are rage clicks?

Rage clicks are when users repeatedly click (and click and click…) in a certain area or on a specific element of your website over a short period of time.

Knowing what causes them can help you optimize your page for conversions by removing pain points.Rage clicks typically signal user frustration with your website due to:

  • Poor page speed, 

  • Confusion 

  • Broken elements (broken links or buttons, as well as JavaScript errors)

Rage clicks can be detected during in-person usability testing or with behavior analytics tools like heatmaps and session recordings.

The bottom line is: mouse slamming from your customers is a likely sign that something is going wrong. Sometimes people click repeatedly out of habit, and we’ll talk more on this later. But usually, rage clicks indicate user frustration and are a symptom of something problematic on your site—like dead links, interactive elements that are broken, website bugs, or slowly loading pages—which can help you identify opportunities to improve the user experience (UX).

Rage clicks as a sign of poor UI and customer experience

Sometimes repeated clicks are about poor UX, and sometimes they’re not—which is why it’s important to understand what you’re looking for.

Like we mentioned above, some people ‘rage click’ out of habit as they read or scan a web page, and they’re not necessarily clicking out of anger or frustration. These clicks are what we call false positives.

Someone rage clicking on the title of a blog post about rage clicks: so meta.

But if your customer is having a bad user experience on your site—maybe because of poor design or a confusing user interface (UI)—rage clicks can reveal actionable insights on what the issue is, or invite you to dig deeper into the digital experience.

Putting rage clicks into context helps you see a broader picture and understand what’s really happening on your website. The easiest way to do it is by using a platform like Hotjar, as we show you below.

How to spot rage clicks at a glance with Hotjar Heatmaps

You can now easily pinpoint where users get frustrated on any page with rage click maps. Identify points of frustration, then reduce friction in your key flows to improve your UX design and boost conversion rates.

#Example of a rage click map on Hotjar’s homepage
Example of a rage click map on Hotjar’s homepage

How to use rage click maps?

1. Toggle on the rage click map via the side panel in Heatmaps

2. View the number of rage clicks and where they occur on the page.

3. Save Highlights to share with your team (optional)

4. Make changes to the user interface of the page to improve UX

How to use session recordings to investigate rage clicks

Session recordings (also known as session replays and user session recordings) are recordings of the actions taken by real visitors as they browse your site. They capture your users’ mouse movements, clicks, taps, and scrolls across multiple pages, giving you insight into how visitors react to, and interact with, elements and features of your website.

#Example of a session recording
Example of a session recording

Using the rage click filter

When you use rage clicks as a filter in Hotjar Recordings, you can pinpoint the moment a user was repeatedly clicking on an element or area of your site (rage click events)—which will help you identify which areas to optimize and improve the customer experience.

Using rage clicks to improve UX: an ecommerce example in 2 steps

Let’s say you’re noticing an increase in abandoned carts and exit rates on your ecommerce checkout page thanks to Google Analytics or Hotjar Funnels, and want to see what’s happening so you can figure out why people aren’t completing their purchases.

You turn to session recordings so you can see how people are using your site, and more specifically, what they’re experiencing on the checkout page:

1. Filter your recordings by URL to view only those visitors who went to the checkout page

After doing some user recordings analysis (defining goals and metrics, dedicating focused time to watch and take notes, and tagging or highlighting your recordings to share with your team), you’re ready to get even more specific:

2. Filter your recordings even further to view only those visitors who rage clicked on the checkout page

When you watch and analyze recordings of people rage-clicking on your checkout page, you gain visibility into your users’ pain points—maybe a key element is broken, they can’t choose their payment method, or can’t update their billing or shipping details.

Sharing your findings with your team puts you in a good position to collectively decide what action to take to reduce those rage click events: fix dead links, broken or missing elements, and other bugs or issues on your site to improve the checkout experience for your users.

Note: we recommend that you experiment with different recordings filters to help you pinpoint issues that need to be fixed for your users.

As we mentioned before, rage clicks help you identify problems right away—but they alone often won’t reveal the whole issue, and are just one of many tools that’ll help you dig deeper into the customer experience.

Using the error filter and console tracking

You can also combine rage clicks with other filters.

The error filter lets you watch recordings of user sessions that displayed a JavaScript error. With the console tracking functionality enabled, you can start tracking those errors—which are often the source of rage clicks—directly in the console as you watch the recordings.

Using the error filter and console tracking to spot rage clicks resulting from errors

Going back to the example of our underperforming ecommerce site, you can also check whether JavaScript errors occur on your precious checkout page, preventing (some) users from finalizing their purchase:

1. Filter recordings by ‘Viewed page’ to include only recordings where the user visited the checkout page

2. In addition to the rage click filter or not, filter by ‘error’ > Occurred

3. Watch the recordings and open the console (on the right, at the bottom)

4. Share the recording with your tech team with the Slack or Microsoft team integration

Using the feedback filter

You can use recordings together with Feedback to find users who rage clicked and left feedback, which usually indicates user frustration due to broken or confusing elements on your site.

Digging deeper into the customer experience

If you’ve got thousands of Hotjar Recordings, it’s rare that rage clicks alone will show you all of the issues your users may be experiencing. Rage clicks are signals of what may be aggressive or frustrated user behavior, but to get the full picture it’s better to focus on patterns, and treat them as part of a larger effort to understand and improve the customer experience.

Once rage click maps and session recordings have given you an understanding of your users’ traffic patterns so you can identify where they’re getting stuck, filter recordings by page (or a set of pages), and add frustration filters like rage clicks and u-turns.

What are your website visitors’ clicks trying to tell you?

Sign up for a free Hotjar account and start learning from your customers today.

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