Eye-Tracking as a Service:
The eye-tracking measurements are usually performed by consultants under laboratory conditions using either a remote camera focused on the eye or a head-mounted “eye tracker.” The consultant performs the measurement procedures using staff, recruited subject or volunteer subjects. The data collected can be analyzed based on the measurements using any of a number of statistical packages into which the eye movement measurements are downloaded. The results of these analyses of visual behaviour tracking can enhance how your website is designed or improved.
Visual Path Measurement:
Visual path measurements that trace the way eyes move across content on a computer screen are used to determine what features of a website or other marketing content are seen, which features capture the most attention and how the eye scans the content. The data can also be analyzed to assess the attention of the subject, “mental effort,” and workload of the subject.
As an example, a major eye-tracking company, working for a major airline, recruited and tested study participants in two major cities. There were three groups,
- Leisure and business travelers who viewed email communications and targeted web features.
- Frequent flyers who looked at web pages including the client’s advertisements.
- Actual air travelers checking in for their flights using self check-in kiosks.
- Eye movement data and click behavior were recorded.
- Analysis of the eye movement data of the email group demonstrated which email designs most effectively communicated with the customer.
- Visual attention to online advertising was frequent but brief. Viewing time spent on some animated and flash ads did not last long enough for the primary message and branding to be delivered. Website designers were able to use the provided average viewing times to tailor their flash animations to the actual viewer behavior.
- Careful analysis of the visual attention to displays and touch screen activity in the check-in kiosks resulted in 20 recommendations for streamlining the check in process, improving usability problems and shortcuts to minimize check out times.
Gaze Plots or Gaze Heat Maps:
The results of eye tracking studies are often presented as gaze plots or heat maps that graphically show the averaged movements of subjects’ eyes over the website or advertisement. They can clearly demonstrate phenomena like “banner blindness” where website visitors literally never see the special offers appearing on the site. By refining the format, layout, placement, and online messaging to fit the natural movement of readers’ eyes, marketers can influence consumer action and increase the impact of the websites.
The tools of visual behavior tracking include portable wearable eye-tracking glasses that record eye movements in the field. After each study, the data is downloaded to be later analyzed. The software will generate re-playable eye motion video reports. These research tools enable detailed refinement of advertising or online presentations before money is spent on implementation.
One consultant was commissioned to perform an eye-tracking study in one of Stockholm’s subway stations. The firm recruited 40 participants at the subway station entrance and fitted the volunteers with eye tracking glasses. The study measured how the subjects were affected by digital signage as they made their way to the trains. The study showed that a large majority of subway users actually looked at the digital signage.