Introduction to Eye Tracking

Every user has his/her own habits when browsing a web page. In general though users follow a certain pattern and focus on the same parts of the page. There will always be users that will have browsing/reading patterns that diverge from the norm but learning the habits of the majority of the users is good enough to aid in making a better web design.

Eye tracking is a method used by usability experts to determine the parts of the pages users look at, the frequency with which they look at those parts, and the amount of time they spend looking at those parts. The data garnered from this technique is very useful in web design because you can then adjust your web page design and make it more effective by placing the most important contents in key positions/placements.

Eye tracking is usually done as part of usability testing, however, not all usability consultants offer this service (in fact only very few do). To do eye tracking the web design consultant need to not only be knowledgeable about this technique but also have the equipment to carry out the test. In my next post I will be discussing briefly how eye tracking is done.

Note that eye tracking has many applications though primarily it is used for all kinds of research from medical research to primate research. Our interest in eye tracking is obviously its application in computer/web design usability and it is this application we will be tackling on the next post.

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