Believe Me or Your Own Eyes: Eye-Tracking Entertainment

Loose notes from SXSW 2011 session: Believe Me or Your Own Eyes: Eye-Tracking Entertainment

“Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes” said Groucho Marx or as the wikiquote page for Groucho tells us, the line was actually spoken by Chico Marx. This panel discussion will focus on the usage of eye-tracking to get quantifiable data to support what users see and what they don’t when they visit entertainment sites (e.g. sports, games, news, or book sites). While many entertainment sites use analytics to get information about user behavior, there is no way to measure the effectiveness of the visual aspect of their site. Users cannot rationally describe what they feel and what makes certain visual elements desirable; eye-tracking can help you measure such metrics. This panel will bring in user experience managers, directors, and/or vice presidents who have an eye-tracking lab or have used eye-tracking consultancies to get data to support the value of photography and video on their site.

Eyetracking hardware today is far less invasive than it was even five years ago. In some cases, nothing but lightweight glasses for the user to wear. In others, just a bar on the table gazing up at the user’s eyes.

What eyetracking doesn’t tell you: A great deal of information comes in through peripheral vision, i.e. out of the range of the eyetracking gear. This is why having thorough conversations with the user afterwards is essential.

You can move your eyes without moving your attention but you can’t move your attention without moving your eyes.

Augments usability findings
Understand key performnce indicators for visual elements
Meaure user engagement and understanding
More precise tiem on task measures
Visual represenatins for difficult to express behaviors
Great visuals for executive presentations
Ability to get map elements in 3D elemtns to further undersetand
Provies additiona insight to Moderator so that they can probe deeper
Observers can experience gaze in real time
Client teams and excutive membership perceive this method to be cutting edge

Fixation does not always indicate they sas it
Higher secverity issues can be discovered with other methods
Misinterpretations of data likely if not adequately contextualized (e.g. heat maps)
Interaction between moderator and participant changes
Equipment not quite fool proof
Equipment purcase is pricey
Dynamic sites take a lot of time to analyze (for Ajax and Flash heavy sites)

Hardware vendors:
Eyetech Digital
Gazehawk – webcam based

One Reply to “Believe Me or Your Own Eyes: Eye-Tracking Entertainment”

  1. Thanks for taking the time to write about the session, Scot. Much appreciated!

    I also wanted to point out that the slides can be found here:

    You’ll see the slides and the video clips that we presented, as well as our contact info if you had more questions.

    All the best!

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