Eye Tracking

Eye tracking is a fantastic method to measure usability. I first learned of eye tracking when I took my usability testing course sophomore year. I mostly learned about it in the context of magazine advertisements, but eye tracking can also be used for websites. I read a usability.gov article on eye tracking. It said that the main reasons website developers use to see where users are looking, how long they’re looking there for, and the order in which their focus moves across (or down) the page. Heat maps are best for seeing where a user focuses his or her gaze, and for how long. Red spots are areas of higher focus, yellow spots are areas of medium focus, and green spots are areas of little focus. Another method is Saccade paths, which measures the eye’s movement between areas of focus. There are some drawbacks to eye tracking, though. It won’t tell you if the user actually takes in the information even if he or she is staring at an item for a lengthy period of time. It also can’t tell you why users are looking at a certain item. When I did my usability testing class, I used a very simple version of eye tracking. Since I obviously didn’t have the software for eye tracking, I asked users to walk me through what they looked at first on the Alpha Delta Pi, Theta Omicron website. This helped me note what stood out immediately to users when they initially reached the website.

Sources: https://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/eye-tracking.html

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