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By using advanced technology, both we and our clients are able to literally see through the eyes of consumers who visit a website or use an app. We use a wide variety of technological tools, that can be roughly divided in three types: eye tracking, facial coding, and EEG neuro research. In this article, we’ll talk about eye tracking at WUA: what do you measure when you use this technology?

To track our respondents’ eyes, we use custom hardware from Tobii. This helps us see exactly what respondents focus on. We don’t use see the respondent’s cursor, but also what their eyes focus on.

This helps us conduct a high-quality analysis of your website. We can see, for example, which elements respondents see first when they visit a website page. The iMotions Eye Tracking software helps us determine the visual attention of users, and then analyze and visualize it. We do this by using the 10 most common eye tracking methods.

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Fixation and Gaze Points

Fixation and Gaze Points are results that you, as customer, don’t see much of during a usability day. As a result of all the qualitative input from users and the points of action that flow from that in the intersessional team discussions, it can be tricky to also focus on what users actually look at. It’s still data we collect and report, however, to help us gain more insight in to the subconscious processes that are decided by our preconceptions and preferences.

Our eye tracker (Tobii Pro X2-30) collects 30 gaze points per second – that means that during a live usability day, you’d miss quite a lot of gaze points. A series of gaze points with minimum distance is clustered and called fixation, or the point that draws the most visual attention. We can also visualize these results in a report, so you can share them with team members who couldn’t be present during the day but may still be interested.

Heat maps

A heat map is a collection of gaze points that are shaded from red (most looked at) to green (least looked at). A heat map is a tool that quickly shows where the most and least visual attention is drawn to, or what’s being ignored. It’s also easy to compare respondents’ heat maps with each other.

First Fixation Duration
The length of time of any given fixation.

Time to First Fixation (TFF)
The Time to First Fixation (TTFF) indicates how much time a visitor needs from the start of a stimulus (filter option in a webshop) to look at a specific Area of Interest.

Areas of Interest (AOI)

This is a tool with which you select a certain area of a stimulus which can then be used to show several measurements about that area alone. For a webshop, for instance, you could select the filter option to see what the average time is before website visitors see it. You can also see how long visitors look at a certain area, how much time they spend there, how many fixations are counted, and how often people look away and back.

Time spent

The time spent measures the time visitors needed to look at a certain Area of Interest. Taking a longer time to look at an image in a webshop, for example, could indicate a higher interest. To gain more insight into the emotional response in different stimuli, it’s important to compare these data with the EEG data and the Facial Expression data.

Ratio

The ratio indicates how many visitors actually looked at a certain stimulus. In the example of a webshop, you could compare this with an image. If the image doesn’t succeed in drawing visitors’ attention, it needs to be made more attractive.

Fixation sequences

A fixation sequence tells us what website visitors looked at, how long it took, and when it happened (at the beginning or the end of a session). The order of a visitor’s attention is an oft-used benchmark because if partially mirrors a person’s interests.

Revisits

The number of revisits provides information about how often a participant looks at a certain area (AOI). With this information we can calculate which website element or tool in an application repeatedly drew visitors’ attention. The reason for this may have been that the element or tool was pleasant or amusing to look at, but it’s also possible that the element was confusing or even frustrating. This is information the Eye Tracker alone can’t clarify, and why we use other tools as well, such as the EEG and the Facial Expression Analysis.

Eye tracking in usability research

In a usability study, your company looks over the shoulders of consumers visiting your website. During the day itself, however, you’ll miss many gaze points. Using Tobii eye tracking software, we map what consumers look at and how long they do so. This way, we can create heat maps (what do people look at the most or the least), but it also offers insight into which parts of the website receive the most attention, and how much time people spend there, or when the visitor looks away. In combination with other tools, such as the EEG, WUA is able to dive deeper into the emotions visitors experience in performing a given task on the website.

Want to know what Eye tracking in usability research can mean for your company? Contact us, or read more about which challenges usability research can solve.