How We Use Eye Tracking Analysis to Build Better Experiences
Curious about what truly captures our attention when looking at a product? Eye tracking technology holds the answer. Eye tracking is a brilliant and emerging way to gain insight into the mind of the consumer. It allows you to understand on a more intimate level their thought processes when it comes to products and technology. Eye tracking technology decodes eye movements and turns them into insights that can be used for a wide range of applications.
This article will explore more about how eye tracking works in digital and physical spaces. We will also explore the benefits it produces in the field of business and technology.
The History of Eye-Tracking
Believe it or not, eye tracking is not a new concept. Tracking people’s lines of vision has been around since the late 18th century. Naturally, scientists have been curious about this phenomenon for centuries as people’s attention and how they view objects provides valuable insight into their raw thought process.
Alfred Yarbus was the first to find a correlation between interest and gaze fixation. He conducted experiments that proved people's eye movements were directly related to their interest and the task assigned to them.
How The Technology Works
The eyes are such a powerful tool that provides us with huge amounts of information on cognitive processes. Eye tracking can come in either screen-based technology, which tracks eye movements from a tracking unit on the screen, or as a tool which allows users to directly wear the tracker in glasses form. This advanced technology contains lights and cameras built into the lenses of the glasses. These glasses track eye movement, and have a scene camera that allows us to see in real time what the user is looking at.
How does it work? First off, the infrared lights inside the lenses are used to illuminate the eyes. Then, a camera captures rapid-fire images of the eye and its movements using the reflection of light from the eye’s cornea and pupils. Lastly, using images taken of the eye, the exact pupil position is discovered. This is used to calculate and track user gaze. Analyzing the user’s line of vision and gaze provides us with insights into the user's attention and focus points.
Eye-Tracking in Physical Spaces
When working in physical spaces with products, we often want to know where the user's attention is. We’re looking at how certain aspects such as design choice, product placement, and usability affect how a user sees and processes a product. With eye tracking technology, we can see through a consumer's perspective how they interact with products and advertisements. This provides us with valuable information on what draws their attention and what parts of a product are most engaging.
When applying this technology in business, it becomes an incredible tool for market research. Typical marketing research such as focus groups, interviews, or in-store testing have limitations as they rely on verbal communication and participant trust. We tend to unconsciously alter or forget details in our memory, or even inadvertently influence our own judgment. For so long this was simply a factor we had to accept because we had no way of gaining insight into a consumer’s mind - until now. Using eye tracking technology, we can ask a participant to walk into a store and pick out a product, tracking their every eye movement. We can uncover unnoticed details like their initial brand choice, signs that caught their attention, the area they focused on the longest, attention-grabbing colors, and specific brand features they evaluated. This technology opens up a world of possibilities for understanding beyond what a consumer can convey verbally, providing invaluable insights for business.
Eye-Tracking in Digital Spaces
We see similar information when working in digital spaces, except now we’re tracking their eye movements and attention when navigating a website or mobile app. We’re able to observe how users interact with different elements of a design, providing us insight into what parts are confusing, difficult to navigate, or less engaging. We can see and adapt design techniques by watching how a user reacts to the system. We can also see what catches their attention, and how layout affects what they perceive.
A typical study might consist of giving the users prompts to follow when navigating a digital platform. With eye-tracking glasses, we can track a user’s initial eye movement and fixation on the screen. These types of details tell us what a user's natural flow and attention pattern might consist of, and can help us to better design a user-friendly experience.
These objective results generated by the eye-tracked user tests are then brought back to the design team to analyze and inform future iterations of the product.
Eye tracking technology is a powerful tool that provides valuable insights into consumers' minds and endless possibilities for applications. By tracking eye movements in both physical and digital spaces, we can help offer clients a better understanding of how their products are perceived. This will enable them to better adapt to user needs.