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Hot Spot Question

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About Hot Spot Questions

You can use the hot spot question type to gather feedback on images. With this question type, the respondent is presented with an image that has predefined regions to select from.

An image with clickable regions

Example: You can use this question type in concept testing for print ads (“Which portions of this ad stand out to you?”) and in usability testing (“Which portions of this webpage are unclear?”).

Setting Up a Hot Spot Question

  1. Click Add new question.
    Blue add new button bottom-right of block, once clicked has menu with question types listed
  2. Select Hot spot.
  3. Add a graphic, either by clicking Choose graphic in the editing pane, or clicking Select a graphic to use in this question.
    Choose Graphic on the question editing pane; other text right on question where the image will be once uploaded
  4. Select a graphic you’ve already uploaded to your account or to upload a new one from your computer.
    Uploading a new graphic

    Qtip: Qualtrics accepts most image file types, though we recommend saving your image as a PNG rather than a JPG.
  5. Click Add Region to add clickable regions.
    Adding regions to the Hot Spot

    Warning: Your hot spot question will not collect data if you do not add regions! If you are looking to create a heat map of generally clicked areas instead, you should create a heat map question.
  6. Click and drag the corners of the region to resize or move it.
  7. Click the text box beneath the region to type a region name (this name will not display to respondents, but will be used in your survey results).
  8. Repeat steps 2–4 until all the necessary regions have been created.
    Modifying how respondents interact with the regions
  9. Choose the question’s Interaction type, Target visibility, and Response requirements. Read more about these settings in the Hot Spot Options section below.

Custom Region Shapes

By default, all regions are rectangles. In certain scenarios, however, you may need custom region shapes. For example, on a map, you may need a free-form region shape to cover a specific city or country.

To customize a region shape

  1. Click anywhere on the region to select it.
    Clicking the dropdown under a region

    Qtip: There are also options available to clone region (copy it) or delete it.
  2. Click the dropdown arrow next to the region name to open the region options.
  3. Choose Edit Shapes.
  4. Click on any edge of the existing shape to add a new point to that edge, or you can use the Add Point button.
    Dragging the side of a region to reshape it
  5. Move the newly added points to create any shape you need.
Qtip: You can also use the blue shape editing toolbar at the top of the question to Draw New Shape, Add Point, Remove Point, or Remove Shape.
Toolbar in green and white that appears at the top of the image after you have selected edit shape

Hot Spot Options

In addition to allowing you to add regions, the hot spot question has three options for customization.


Interaction settings determine how the respondents interact with the hot spot.

Interaction settings in the question editing pane

On/Off allows the respondent to either select or deselect a region.

A hot spot with regions selected, highlighting green

Like/Dislike allows a respondent to mark a region positively, mark a region negatively, or deselect a region.

A hot spot where one region is green and two are red

Target visibility

Target visibility settings in the question editing pane

By default, regions do not display unless respondents hover over them. Alternatively, regions can be set to Always visible.

Hot spot where regions are outlined

Response Requirements

By default, respondents have no requirements for how they answer a hot spot question. If you click Add validation, you can add requirements.

Minimum regions selected allows you to define how many regions, minimum, have to be clicked.

Valdiation set to minimum regions selected

Answer range allows you to set a minimum and a maximum number of regions that must be selected.

Hot spot where the range is set from 1 to 5

See our Response Requirements & Validation page to learn more about custom validation.

Data Analysis

Once your responses have been collected, Qualtrics offers various ways you can analyze your response data. From the Reports tab, you can view aggregate data in pre-made reports as well as create your own reports from scratch. From the Data & Analysis tab, you can view and manage individual respondents’ data.


Hot spots display data in reports by showing how many times each region was selected.

Qtip: Do you want to be able to display selections as a heat map? You shouldn’t be using the hot spot, but the heat map question instead.

In the Results section of the Reports tab, there are five visualization types available for hot spot questions: simple table, bar chart, line chart, pie chart, and breakdown bar. For more information on these visualizations please visit the linked visualization support pages.

In the Reports section of the Reports tab, the visualizations available for the hot spot are the bar chart, line chart, and statistics table. For more information on these visualizations please visit the linked visualization support pages.

Downloaded Data Format

In the exported data set, a column will be provided for each region.

If the hot spot question was set to Like / Dislike, a “Dislike” indicates dislike, a “Neutral” indicates neutral (the user did not select this region), and a “Like” indicates like.

If the hot spot question was set to On / Off, an unselected region will be indicated by  “Off”, and a selected region will be indicated by  “On”.


visual of the download format of a Hot Spot question