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DATE: 2006/10/29(日)   CATEGORY: Web Projects
Web Navigation Study: A Clickstream Analysis

A clickstream is the recording of what computer user clicks on while web browsing. It is a kind of web analytics which measures the behavior of visitors to a website.

The researchers from Web University of Hamburg found that the nature of web navigation has changed over time.


Comparison chart of three long-term studies
Time of study19941995-19962004-2005
No. of users1072325
Length (days)2135-4252-195
No. of visits31,13484,841137,272
Recurrence rate61%58%45.6%
Link45.7%43.4%43.5%
Back35.7%31.7%14.3%
Submit-4.4%15.3%
New window0.2%0.8%10.5%
Direct access12.6%13.2%9.4%
Reload4.3%3.3%1.7%
Forward1.5%0.8%0.6%
Other-2.3%4.8%



  • Links following has remained the most common navigation activity, accounting for 43.5% of page transitions.

  • Direct access through bookmarks, typing in urls, or home page button has remained relative steady around 10%.

  • New window has jumped from less than 1% to over 10% in the past 11 years.

  • Form submission has increased from 4.4% to over 15% of all navigation actions reflecting the increase in web services.
    (43% of all form submission involve search submission, followed by online dictionary and travel planners)

  • With the increase in new windows and use of AJAX, the back button has dropped from over 35% to less than 15%

ClickStream (Preview)

The clickstream results show a similar F-shaped triangular pattern to heatmaps. The heatmaps result of user click patterns is quite similar to the result of eye tracking. The most active area is located in the upper left corner of the page (example). Also we may find that there is an unexpected active area in the lower right part of the page. This turned out to be where Google placed their next page link.

For those who are interested in making your own heat maps for your website, you may try looking at the website bellows. It contains the source code and steps about making a heat maps.

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