Schedule Time & Gather Materials
- Time Needed: A Few Minutes per Test
- Number of Tests Required: 8 – 12
- Eye tracking software and hardware
- A testable version of your site or product
- Video camera or webcam
Carry Out This Method
- Write a scenario or task that you want to test. The task should involve specific pages and interactions.
- Recruit participants. This can be done automatically through web-based eye tracking software and testing services, or you can recruit local participants yourself.
- Run your eye tracking study. If working in a usability lab, be sure to adjust the camera between sessions to accommodate participants of different sizes.
- Ask users to describe their actions, including their reasons for taking an action and their feelings regarding the result.
- After collecting between 8 and 12 valid responses, compare heat maps for common fixation points and scan patterns.
- Watch video of each participant to see if they explain the reasons for prolonged gazes. Do they think something is attractive to look at? Are they trying to figure out what an illegible word is? Are they trying to interpret a low quality image? Also see if they mention any page elements that the heat map shows no eye activity for. Are they assuming that your header is a banner ad? Are they avoiding a photo that looks like it might be disturbing or uninteresting?
Try These Tips
- Practice with your hardware and software setup multiple times with multiple individuals before your first test with real users. Check for lighting, software reliability, camera battery life, et cetera.
- The value derived from Eye Tracking versus the effort should be considered. Heat maps generated from clicks and mouse movements may provide the same or similar information at lower cost.
Explore More Resources
- James Hom’s Usability Methods Toolbox: Eye Tracking
- Wikipedia: Eye Tracking
- Nielsen Norman Group: Articles on eye tracking
- Tristan Hume: Eye Tracker Reviews: Pupil Labs, Tobii, Eye Tribe, XLabs