Agnieszka Bojko of User Centric, Inc. spoke on the benefits and detractions of eyetracking.
Assumption in eyetracking: fixation = attention
She played a short clip of someone scanning the UPA web site and asked us to identify what the participant was doing. Someone in the audience guessed right the first time, but she was using the example to highlight the assumption.
Justify the investment:
Is it justfied? “Don’t do just because it’s cool.”
Eye tracking can help
Assess decision making processes
Determine visual search efficiency, strategies and user expectations.
Evaluate the match between visual design and business objectives. (would ask what business wants people to see, then eye track to see if that is being met)
Can narrow down possible causes of usability issues.
Lack of planning will make the analysis difficult
plan what tasks you want to track and why. don’t have to track all tasks necessarily.
Match the tasks and objectives with appropriate measures.
Choose the right measures (# of fixations, fixation length, time to first fixation, # of visits to area)
Use high-fidelity, High-quality stimuli because it is difficult to generalize data collected with wireframes. Blank or fudged area may attract undue attention.
Recruit “trackable” participants. Watch out for thick glasses or color contacts as current technology doesn’t help with it well.
Avoid think-aloud protocol while tracking; users tend to pay more attention to the page/product when you don’t do think-aloud. Think-aloud can coexist with eyetracking if you ask participants to do tasks just eyetracking, then think aloud.
Don’t rely on visuals alone in your reporting. Visuals must accompany the tasks, a ledgend for what things mean, and an overall explanation of the data.
Present a single story in your report, don’t just attach the eye tracking to the “regular” report. You are testing tasks on the same product, all the data is related and relevant.
Some of the supporting materials are online.