Improve your Cognos Analytics site’s user experience and increase BI user adoption by integration with hotjar

As part of our strategy to increase our BI user adaption, My team and I wanted to see the “big picture” of how to improve our corporate Cognos portal’s user experience and performance/conversion rates.

We wanted to measure and observe user behavior (see what users do) while they were browsing the Cognos portal. We also were looking to get feedback from them via online poll and surveys while they were executing a specific report/dashboard. 

Initially, we were thinking about embedding Google analytics with our site to extract the above data. But while researching our options, we came across this really cool alternate company called Hotjar. Upon further product comparison, We realized that Hotjar suited perfectly to what we were trying to get accomplished, and to boot, it was FREE! ( well to a certain extent anyway).

Hotjar gave us a fast & visual way to understand our user behavior as well as get their feedback.

Link to Hotjar

Visualize User behavior – Understand what users want, care about, and do on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior – which are the most reliable indicators of visitor motivation and desire.

See what your users see – Eliminate guesswork with Recordings of real visitor behavior on your site. By seeing your visitor’s clicks, taps, and mouse movements, you can identify usability issues on the fly and problems they encounter.

More information about the full features can be found here.

Link to Hotjar

Integration with IBM Cognos Analytics

The integration of Hotjar with the CA portal is pretty straightforward, and I have listed the steps below.

Note: For this exercise, I am demoing the integration of Hotjar with Cognos Analytics using the SampleWelcome extension provided by IBM. 

1) Register with Hotjar for a free basic account.

 You get 15 days of business-level free when you first register, so I recommend taking advantage of that. You can always switch to the free basic plan at the end of your trial period. Your recordings and other data collected during the trial period will stay intact.

2) Add a new site and provide your CA portal URL and other information requested. 

3) Once that site has been set up, Grab the tracking code and save it somewhere( we will be using it very shortly). 

Updating Sample Cognos Analytics Extension with Hotjar tracking code

4) From the Cognos samples, Now download the Cognos “” extension, and extract/unzip it. 

5) Within the extracted SampleWelcome folder, Browse to “SampleWelcomeView.HTML” located under SampleWelcome > JS > views folder location. Right-click and edit the file SampleViewWelcome.html file.

6) By default, the HTML file does not contain <head> section. So let’s go ahead and add those head tags to the HTML file and insert the hotjar tracking code in between those head tags, as shown below.


Paste the entire tracking code from hotjar here


7) Save and exit the HTML file.

8) Now zip the SampleWelcome extension and load it back into the Cognos portal. 

9) Go to the Customization section in your CA Admin screen and set sampleWelcome as the default Homepage. 

Verifying the hotjar Integration

10)  Log back to the hotjar portal, Click the “Tracking” button located on the top right section of the Site Dashboard.

11) click on “Verify your installation”

12) Click on “verify installation” button. You should your CA portal launch successfully.

The above steps complete the integration of hotjar with your CA portal. You should start recordings of user activity appear on the recordings section. We have noticed that the recordings start appearing between 5 -10 mins after the user ends their session.

Note: Heatmaps do not appear by default and you would need to setup one or more up based on your requirement. They can be setup via the Heatmaps section in the hotjar portal.

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