What You Need To Know About Eye Tracking (older barcamp version)


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When you see an Eye Tracking heatmap for the first time, you are probably so busy saying “wow!” that you forget to critically evaluate what you are seeing.

This talk is intended to prevent this from happening - and give you a set of critical questions to ask next time you are faced with Eye Tracking findings.

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What You Need To Know About Eye Tracking (older barcamp version)

  1. 1. What you need to know about Eye TrackingSome practical tips for designers and developers<br />Barcamp Brighton 4 #bcb4<br />Harry Brignull<br />90percentofeverything.com<br />
  2. 2. Who’s this guy?<br />Hi, I’m Harry Brignull<br />I’m a User Experience consultant<br />Background in User Research & Cognitive Science<br />I work at Madgex, 2 minutes walk from here<br />
  3. 3. This is my blog...<br />
  4. 4. This is an eye tracker<br />They cost up to $35,000<br />Hidden down here are some infra-red lights and a webcam. <br />They are used to track the movements of your eyes so the system can tell where you are looking on a page.<br />Image credit: Tobii.com <br />
  5. 5. A screengrab of the admin software.<br />The researcher can click a few buttons and generate cool visualisations like this. <br />
  7. 7. Simulated Eyetracking heatmap<br />
  8. 8. When you see a heatmap for the first time, you are so busy saying “wow!” that you forget to critically evaluate what you are seeing. <br />It’s easy to feel intimidated. The technology involved is phenomenal.<br />But this doesn’t mean all research done on an eye tracker is infallible – far from it!<br />Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/expressmonorail/3043760419/<br />
  9. 9. The output from an eye tracking study does not have some kind of mystical significance just because an eye tracker was used!<br />
  10. 10. This talk is intended to give you a heads-up on how to think critically about eye tracking.<br />... So next time you’re presented with some eye tracking findings, you don’t just swallow them hook, line and sinker.<br />
  11. 11.
  12. 12. Some<br />Some people  eye tracking<br />
  13. 13. “Our specialist eye tracking services allow you to climb inside your users&apos; heads and see your designs through their eyes.” - Etre.com<br />
  14. 14. “We now offer specific eye tracking research - these offer radical insights into which elements of your design (online, print, film, ad placement) gain attention allowing you to tailor key information for the most impact.”<br />- Bunnyfoot<br />
  15. 15. Some<br />Other people hate eye tracking<br />
  16. 16. “One of these days, I&apos;m going to make a &quot;Just Say No to Eye Trackers&quot; t-shirt.”“How about a Ouija Board? They run about 1/3000 the price and produce just as good predictions of what works and what doesn&apos;t.”<br />- Jared Spool<br />
  17. 17. Number of Eye Trackers owned <br />Am I being a bit cynical here?<br />Enthusiasm about eye tracking<br />
  18. 18. Clooney or Crook – which do people prefer?<br />
  19. 19. Clooney or Crook – which do people prefer?<br />
  20. 20. Eye tracking gives you evidence of what people look at. <br /> This data alone does not tell you whether they like it, understand it or want it! <br />
  21. 21. For this reason, ET is usually paired with other observational data<br />
  22. 22. Example research from Tobii<br />This heat map is based on aggregated data from 54 participants during the first 30 seconds.<br />Quoting the Tobii report “all boxes both on the right and the left side of the page are practically ignored”<br />Possible (mis)interpretation: Quick, move everything into the middle! We can’t allow the promotions to be ignored! PANIC!<br />Read more: http://bit.ly/tobii-realeyes<br />
  23. 23. But hang on a minute...What task were users given?<br />
  24. 24. The task given has a huge impact on eye tracking patterns! <br />Yarbus, A. L. Eye Movements and Vision. Plenum. New York. 1967<br />
  25. 25. “Find a gift for under £50 for your dad” OR“Sign up for the site’s newsletter”These two different tasks are going to generate radically different heatmaps<br />
  26. 26. Example study from Tobii Task: “Sign up for online banking”<br />100 participants tested<br />Source: Tobii<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75RpQ2Z6nYc<br />
  27. 27. Quoting from video “[The data indicates] that they have seen the links but are not sure if they have found the right place to click. They are probably looking for a link that says &quot;sign up now&quot;. [...]<br />The conclusion - add a link that says &quot;Sign up now&quot; [...]<br />Source: Tobii<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75RpQ2Z6nYc<br />
  28. 28. This is the current natwest.com homepage <br />Did they really need to carry out an eye tracking study to find out that they’d forgotten to add a call-to-action for first-time users?<br />
  29. 29. Large scale eye tracking studies aren’t cheap!<br />And not lets not forget the cost of eye trackers, up to £35,000 each!<br />Caveat: prices shown above are estimated and may vary by roughly +/- £10k depending on method used & supplier<br />
  30. 30. There are two types of Eye Tracking study<br />Qualitative and Quantitative<br />
  31. 31. Qualitative Eye tracking <br />A handful of people are tested (e.g. 6-12)<br />An expert researcher combs through the data looking for compelling insights.<br />A great deal of trust is placed in the researcher’s expertise in separating the wheat from the chaff. <br />It’s not about numbers or statistics. You have no statistical assurance that the issues observed will reoccur with your user-base at large.<br />
  32. 32. Qualitative research isn’t science - it’s detective work<br />A great deal of trust is placed in the researcher’s expertise. <br />They have to know what they are doing – what’s pertinent, what’s not, and most importantly, how to interpret the data into design recommendations! <br />Most eye tracking studies are qualitative – always be sure to find out.<br />
  33. 33. Quantitative research IS science - but it’s still possible to misinterpret the findings<br />In quant studies you test large numbers of users and use statistical tests that allow you to generalise beyond the sample. <br />However just because “significantly more people looked at area X than area Y”, you can’t be sure what this really means in terms of improving the design of your site!<br />
  34. 34. This is a fact<br />This is arguable!<br />This is arguable!<br />
  35. 35. So – now you should now be prepared for the next time you’re in a meeting and a consultant presents you with some eye tracking findings...<br />
  36. 36. Eye tracking is just another tool in the UX research toolbox. <br />There are times when it’s worthwhile <br />When you have a tightly defined design problem that specifically requires an understanding of what people look at.<br />When you are working with eye tracking experts who you can trust<br />ET Findings can create compelling evidence by dovetailingwith other findings<br />Can be a useful educational tool<br />But critics claim it ‘s hard to use, expensive, easily misused and often reveals findings you could achieve with cheaper approaches like standard UT!<br />Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/skistz/398429879/<br />
  37. 37. Key learnings<br />Healthy Cynicism: ask questions. Never accept ET at face value (or any other research findings for that matter)<br />Find out what kind of users were tested, and what tasks they were given – this should frame your interpretation<br />Remember “looking at” ≠ understanding. You have to refer to what the users did or said for you to understand the bigger picture. <br />Always question the interpretation of the findings! <br />
  38. 38. That’s all folks!<br />Harry Brignull<br />twitter.com/harrybr<br />90percentofeverything.com<br />