Week 8 – Eye Tracking

February 23, 2015

Eye Tracking can be an interesting component of internet usability experience research. The original Poynter document was compelling for me to read as I’ve used Eye Tracking data and information for projects at work, but haven’t fully understood the neurology or science behind how a consumer actually uses their eyes to focus or to pay attention. The idea that you can change your focus without moving your eyes was revealing to me.

Additionally, the data around user behavior on Tablet consumption was very intriguing. I found myself personally agreeing to both types of user engagement; either real-time scrolling through content, or digesting a screen full of content at a time, and then moving to the next piece(s) of information. What wasn’t too surprising, but good to see validated, was consumer engagement of a horizontal/landscape view over a portrait/vertical view. Also, the usage of the consumer around image galleries as it pertained to video engagement was somewhat validating of how I’ve envisioned consumers swiping with content on mobile devices.

While it didn’t entirely surprise me, the Economist article on Eye Tracking was also of interest. I know retailers and merchandisers have used Eye Tracking for product packaging and in-store placements, but this was first I’d read of how this technology has evolved into in-store shopping exercises with sampled consumers. Additionally, the inclusion of Lenovo’s product line which features a laptop with Eye Tracking built in is cool. Finally, the last part of the article about an Eye Tracked drone missile is somewhat scary. Hopefully the user isn’t in any way distracted while firing the missile with their “eyes.”

I’m curious what the differences are between device types. The recent Poynter Institute article featured printed newspapers in conjunction with online articles, but does the eye vary from device to device? The article from the Economist on tablet reading is the closest to a non-desktop analysis, but what are the differences on mobile and smartphones? Do phablets trend one way or the other? I’d be curious to see the data subsets to see if there are any strong variations between device types and/or screen resolutions.

Overall, a trend of consumer behavior seems to have emerged from the articles. Generally speaking, consumers are drawn to content that features strong, dominant imagery with easy-to-read headlines, Additionally, while users will self-report that they’ve read specific content, the data implies otherwise.


  • Beyond the examples in this week’s readings, are there any additional industries or examples of where Eye Tracking can be effective in measuring usability?
  • What would you do, if after an Eye Tracking study, your plan, creative, design, etc. was shown to be way off course? How would you resolve and/or retest?

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