Re: [IxDA] where to use eye tracking?

23 Jun 2010 - 7:49am
4 years ago
4 replies
744 reads
Stew Dean
2007

I'm with Jared,   Eye tracking tells you about common user bahaviour, how people read pages and what they are likely to look at. If you're farily clued up on that already and know your theory it is unlikely you'll learn anything new.  Eye tracking tells you what people are looking at but not what they are seeing or what they comprehend.  Contextual studies and talking aloud during traditional testing will tell you far more than eye tracking can and are still needed to make sense of any eye tracking work you do. The biggest problem with eye tracking is that the data it's self can be used to reach bad conclusions. The example I have used before is Jakob Neilsen's article on eye tracking and talking head videos. The tests find, unsuprsingly, that people tend to wonder to the stuff around the talking head video rather than look at the video or the face. He incorrectly states that the video is boring. In reality it's down to the content being delivered how interesting the video is, and even then they may not engage with the image but listen to it whilst doing other things! 

  In short eye tracking, by it's self, will normally tell you what you should know already and any suprises take a lot of untangling to reach an objective outcome, so you have to do use all the techniques you would use even without eye tracking.

  The only valid use of eye tracking I can think of is for radically new types of interfaces in unusual situations, to test large scale hypothesis about user interaction, and then eye trackign may be very difficult. This kind of stuff tends to happen at an academic level, not during the design of online experiences.

  Stew Dean    

Hi all,
Recently I got chance to try out eye tracking setup for one project. But I'm little confused about what phase is appropriate for using eye tracking. I mean for performance test, we can take tasks and test with users and get observations, for affordance test, I don’t think there is any need of eye tracking setup (as it can be executed by asking questions). So according to my understanding, eye tracking is purely for re-design so is this understanding correct?

Thanks,
Kishor Sonawane

   


--
Stew Dean

Comments

23 Jun 2010 - 12:01pm
smitty777
2010

Hi Dean -  I don't think the case for eye-tracking is quite that bleak.  There is a good article by Jim Ross that does a good job of summing up when eye-tracking is appropriate and the benefits: 

http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2009/10/eyetracking-is-it-worth-it.php

I've also seen it used quite effectively in past jobs on non-web applications as well, such as air traffic control systems.

Thanks,

 

Bill

 

23 Jun 2010 - 2:05pm
netwiz
2010

On 23/06/2010 16:26, Stew Dean wrote: > I'm with Jared,

I have to say I don't get the objection to the value of eye tracking - like ANY method of customer insight, there are pros and cons, and it's about judging what's most appropriate for a given investigation.

Take, say, the homepage of a travel site (such as ba.com). We can ask people where they would go if they wanted to - book a flight - get prices for a holiday - research travel options - etc Usually they'll say, I'll go to the booking engine (not using those words). We'll ask, did you see the adverts? Would you use them? The respondent might say yes or no they saw them, and what they say may or may not reflect what they actually looked at and understood when they first looked at the page. The eye tracking can supplement the insight by saying, for example, (to paraphrase) 'this person didn't actually look at the ads', as against someone who did look at them for 2 seconds. These two people might report the same experience. Sure, the outcome is the same, that they didn't click on the ads, but it tells you something about whether you need to do something in the design to get people to look at them in the first place, or whether it's the message that's not appealing.

Also, on many sites and many pages users will say 'this looks busy'. They can report what they notice, you can observe their behaviour when they are asked to do a task, and you can supplement that information with richer data by measuring what they look at, and for how long. To say that there's no value in this seems somewhat perverse to me, and I think it needs a stronger justification for why the information gathered is not of use. It seems analagous to me to saying that web metrics shed no light on user behaviour (which is not true).

Nick

> > ________________________________________________________________ > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) Discussion! > Manage Account .......... http://www.ixda.org/user/36407/notifications > Discussion Guidelines .......... http://www.ixda.org/help > > -- > > View original post: > http://www.ixda.org/mailcomment/redirect/%3C36407.25954.0.1277300947.9f17d22c729cb8a224cbe6f80346a9be%40ixda.org%3E > > > >

-- Nick Gassman UX, design and insight, ba.com

24 Jun 2010 - 8:54pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

Nick said:

Take, say, the homepage of a travel site (such as ba.com). We can ask people where they would go if they wanted to - book a flight - get prices for a holiday - research travel options - etc Usually they'll say, I'll go to the booking engine (not using those words). We'll ask, did you see the adverts? Would you use them? The respondent might say yes or no they saw them, and what they say may or may not reflect what they actually looked at and understood when they first looked at the page. The eye tracking can supplement the insight by saying, for example, (to paraphrase) 'this person didn't actually look at the ads', as against someone who did look at them for 2 seconds. These two people might report the same experience.

What does it tell you that the person gazed (look is an improper verb when talking about eye tracking -- it doesn't measure where people look, only where their focal gaze is registered by the device) at the ad for 2 seconds but couldn't tell you anything about it? What do you do differently than if the eye tracker hadn't registered that information about their gaze?

You don't know whether it's messaging. You don't know whether it's the graphics of the ad. You don't know if it's an anomalous stare at the ad even though they were deep in thought about something else. There's lots you don't know about that two second registered gaze. You don't even know if the device accurately recorded the gaze.

So, what do you do about all the thing you don't know?

I understand that other usability testing techniques produce lots of unknowns too. They just do it at greatly reduced cost. If I'm going to have lots of unknowns, I might as well collect them in a cost efficient manner.

That's my take,

Jared

24 Jun 2010 - 4:05am
netwiz
2010

Nick,
Eye tracking can have amazing value. Just look at the book Ogilvy on Advertising with its heuristics on how the eyes move over a face and then down to a caption. But you don't need to carry out eye tracking research every time to show that.
The challenge though is brilliantly summed up by this slide deck. Why you need 50 people in  Eye Tracking Studies.  http://www.slideshare.net/jamesbreeze/why-you-need-50-people-in-eye-tracking-studies 

'this person didn't actually look
at the ads', as against someone who did look at them for 2 seconds

There are challenges with this statement.  As Harry Brignull says in this deck http://www.slideshare.net/harrybr/what-you-need-to-know-about-eye-tracking-new-uxlx-version "Just because there is no heat does not mean that nobody saw it"
There other challenge is that unless people are actually buying a ticket their behaviour will be very different from somebody who has just come in to take part in a study. 
All the best
James
On 24 June 2010 00:24, netwiz <netwiznick@gmail.com> wrote:

On 23/06/2010 16:26, Stew Dean wrote:
> I'm with Jared,

I have to say I don't get the objection to the value of eye tracking -
like ANY method of customer insight, there are pros and cons, and it's
about judging what's most appropriate for a given investigation.

Take, say, the homepage of a travel site (such as ba.com). We can ask
people where they would go if they wanted to
- book a flight
- get prices for a holiday
- research travel options
- etc
Usually they'll say, I'll go to the booking engine (not using those
words). We'll ask, did you see the adverts? Would you use them? The
respondent might say yes or no they saw them, and what they say may or
may not reflect what they actually looked at and understood when they
first looked at the page. The eye tracking can supplement the insight by
saying, for example, (to paraphrase) 'this person didn't actually look
at the ads', as against someone who did look at them for 2 seconds.
These two people might report the same experience. Sure, the outcome is
the same, that they didn't click on the ads, but it tells you something
about whether you need to do something in the design to get people to
look at them in the first place, or whether it's the message that's not
appealing.

Also, on many sites and many pages users will say 'this looks busy'.
They can report what they notice, you can observe their behaviour when
they are asked to do a task, and you can supplement that information
with richer data by measuring what they look at, and for how long. To
say that there's no value in this seems somewhat perverse to me, and I
think it needs a stronger justification for why the information gathered
is not of use. It seems analagous to me to saying that web metrics shed
no light on user behaviour (which is not true).

Nick

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--
Nick Gassman
UX, design and insight, ba.com

(((Please leave all con
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