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Having an Eye for Eye Tracking

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Having an Eye for Eye Tracking

How to Choose the Right Sample and Method for Effective Results


In the world of customer experience, there is almost no limit to the amount of technology available to researchers to evaluate consumer interaction. This is necessary since the websites, software solutions and application designs we seek to improve are built using advanced technology, offering advanced features and functionality to the end user; it is only appropriate that we use advanced technology to evaluate and improve these interfaces.

We have devices that give us picture-in-picture recording, showing us consumers’ facial expressions in the context of their user experience. We can conduct online quantitative surveys that intercept people before, during, or after an online experience without getting blocked by a browser’s pop-up blockers. We can use card sorting software to compile thousands of users’ opinions about how to rank and organize information, and come up with one best solution. And, we can use powerful web analytics tools that track users behavior and paint a complete picture of user experience online. We can even link the attitudes of specific users or segments to their behavior, and better understand how these different groups process and interact with information. These are just a few examples of the advanced technologies that we have at our disposal when conducting qualitative or quantitative consumer research online, and there are many more.

One of the most helpful and compelling of these technologies is eye tracking. In short, it allows us to understand how users visually digest media and information. Since it is essentially done in the background while requiring minimal user involvement, it provides a unique set of data that cannot be collected via attitudinal questioning or behavioral clickstream tracking; rather, it gives us almost instantaneous feedback about how consumers look at a stimulus and then take action, helping us diagnose the effectiveness of a given design that we would not otherwise understand through traditional moderated usability testing.

Surprisingly, given the value of leveraging eye tracking during user experience research, there is not much information online or offline about how to best conduct eye tracking. Perhaps it is because eye tracking is a fairly new technology, or perhaps it is due to its perceived complexity. Whatever the reason, we aim to bridge this gap by explaining in detail the basics of eye tracking. This will include information on what eye tracking is, when to best leverage it, and how to conduct research using it. We will also show through our own study the insights that can be gleaned when adding eye tracking to a standard usability or direct observation research study.

In this white paper, we will start by providing an overview of the eye tracking methodology: what it is, how it works, and when it should be used. We will also explain how many users are necessary to conduct your own eye tracking study, based on research we have collected from countless client engagements as well as primary research that we specifically completed for this white paper.

Then, we will walk through this research in more detail. We will provide some background on why we chose to run the study and what we hoped to learn. We will then discuss the specific methodology, explaining the sites we tested and the tasks we asked users to complete. We will also detail the visual and behavioral metrics we get from eye tracking software, how to use this information, and what it tells us about the websites we are testing.

Above all, we intend to show how eye tracking can effectively be used to test the performance of a website’s visual design, information architecture, layout, content, and calls-to-action, and ultimately provide actionable recommendations based on eye tracking research. It is our hope that this white paper provides a concise yet complete overview of the best eye tracking methodology, while also giving concrete examples of the results that can be gleaned through our own unique eye tracking research.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Methodology
3. What is Eye Tracking?
4. How Does Eye Tracking Work?
5. When is Eye Tracking the Best Research Method?
6. How Many Participants Do you Need?
7. Eye Tracking Research
8. Study Background
9. Research Objectives
10. Method and Scope
11. Data Analysis
12. Detailed Findings
13. Online Travel Agencies – vs. vs.
14. Retail Clothing – vs. vs.
15. Pharmaceuticals – vs. vs.
16. Online Tickets – vs. vs.
17. Automotive Classifieds – vs. vs.
18. Conclusion
19. Appendix
20. Acknowledgements
21. Company Information

Download the full white paper here. It’s free.