UX Nuggets Thoughts and advice on usability and user experience

Don't Boo the Eyeballs

April 20, 2011 |  Aga Bojko


(Re-post from the “Eye Tracking the User Experience” Blog.  Aga is currently writing Eye Tracking the User Experience, A Practical Guide, to be published by Rosenfeld Media in 2012.) 

Writing about writing isn't hard but the problem is that when you're writing, you have no time to write about that. That's my eloquent excuse for why I haven't posted anything here in a while.

I just finished Chapter 3. According to the outline, there are still nine more to go. Who wrote this outline and why are there so many chapters in this book?!

After finishing each chapter, I celebrate by making a word cloud out of the text. I then post it on Facebook for my friends to see. I figured that would make them feel more involved. They could also see that I'm making progress, which means that they will soon be allowed to talk to me again.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

[Don't they all make it look like each chapter is about the same exact thing?]

So far the response has been lukewarm at best. Some people politely click on "Like" but no one would comment. I was really starting to suspect they didn't care about eye tracking... But that all was about to change with Chapter 3. Chapter 3 word cloud got a comment!

When my BlackBerry notified me of it, I was almost as excited as when I won an Elmo piñata in a raffle once. I immediately pulled over (don't FB and drive, kids) and looked at the comment. It said "Boooooooooooooo, boo! Eyeballs! Eyeballs!" Seriously.

Hmm. Maybe after the next chapter I will just get a massage or have my car detailed to celebrate.

If the word clouds didn't give you enough preview of the content of the first three chapters, here are some random facts for you:

  • When buying an eye tracker, UX practitioners (and market researchers) don't seem to be very particular about its technical specs. They care more about the system's ease of use, efficiency of analysis tools, and visualizations.
  • Eye tracking beats card sorting (4 : 1) in the number of monthly Google searches in the world. Usability beats eye tracking (5 : 1). But Katy Perry and Justin Bieber beat them all. By a lot.
  • Manufacturers are focusing on improving their wearable eye trackers. SMI will soon be releasing glasses with binocular tracking and hi-res scene camera. ASL is working on the next generation Mobile Eye. We live in exciting times.
  • Double Stuf Oreos have been around as long as I have been alive (if this seems irrelevant, stay tuned...)
  • Studies have shown that gaze-cued Retrospective Think-Aloud (RTA) protocol provides more feedback than Concurrent Think-Aloud protocol. But when gaze-cued RTA was compared to video-cued RTA (with no gaze overlay), the amount of feedback was comparable. Ha.
  • Cover your eyes after you have been talking to someone face to face for a while and ask them what color your eyes are. Chances are they won't know. This is an example of how you can look at something but not necessarily register everything about it (i.e., "looking without seeing").
  • Many practitioners decide to use eye tracking in a study before identifying the research questions. Good or bad? [HINT: You cannot possibly know which methods to use without knowing what the study is trying to accomplish.]

Back to the real writing now...

Oh, if anyone has access to NZT, please get in touch.

You can keep up with the book's progress by visiting its site:  http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/eye-tracking/
...or follow @agabojko and @rosenfeldmedia
...or subscribe to its RSS feed:  http://feeds.rosenfeldmedia.com/eye-tracking/
...or be notified (and get a discount) when it goes on sale


Associate Director Aga Bojko has been instrumental in establishing the eye tracking practice at GfK User Centric by integrating eye movement analysis into traditional UX research studies for software applications, websites, and product packaging. She has a MS in Human Factors from the University of Illinois and a MS in Human-Computer Interaction from DePaul University. 

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