Mike Slinn
Mike Slinn

Microsoft Clarity Lets Me Watch You Click and Scroll

Published 2022-03-31. Last modified 2022-05-11.
Time to read: 2 minutes.

This page is part of the posts collection, categorized under Internet, Jekyll, SEO.

I spent a fair bit of time designing the plugins for this Jekyll-powered website for SEO. These plugins are published as open source; click on the word Jekyll in the sentence above this paragraph to learn more. You are welcome!

I do not use Google Analytics because it slows down page load time dramatically. I do use Google Search Console, however, and recently started trying out Microsoft Bing Webmaster Tools.

Microsoft Clarity and Hotjar

Earlier today, I stumbled across Microsoft Clarity, a free product that I knew nothing about. I was curious to know what benefit it might provide. One of the things it can do is provide videos of actual user sessions as they interact with the website.

Check out this video!

Microsoft Clarity lets me watch movies of users clicking and scrolling through my website; spooky yet very informative.

Clarity is open source. Here is the GitHub project.

I have since learned that Hotjar is similar to Microsoft Clarity.

Online Behavior Matches Real-World Behavior

The user in the above video read a bit about my experience as a software expert witness, then straightaway downloaded my resume. They were on the website for just over one minute. Although they did call me, their online behavior showed a lack of urgency, and their ‘real-world’ behavior mirrored what I saw in the movie.

A week later another party visited my site, and spent 80 minutes carefully reading 3 pages, among others. Their ‘real-world’ behavior also matched their online behavior, in that they exhibited a sense of urgency towards engaging a software expert.

Tracking Downloads And Other Behavior

Microsoft Clarity does not consider a download as a click. It does not even notice downloads. For me, downloads are what I care about most. If you never download my resume, you probably are not a candidate for hiring me as a software expert. I want to track downloads, not clicks. Clicks are nice, but there is a direct relationship between resume downloads and signing contracts with legal firms who represent new clients.

AWS CloudTrail and CloudWatch can provide download details and much more. For example, user IP addresses and geographic location can be captured when a monitored event occurs.

Many Websites Perform Surveillance

Wired Magazine published an article on a similar type of surveillance (keyloggers) on May 11, 2022. I paraphrased two sentences from that article:

  • 1.8% of websites studied gathered an EU user's email address without their consent, and a staggering 2.95% logged a US user's email.
  • For US users, 8.4% of sites may have been leaking data to Meta, Facebook’s parent company, and 7.4% of sites may be impacted for EU users.
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