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Eye Tracking 

What is it?

Eye tracking allows testers to identify what participants look at during the course of a usability test. Eye tracking equipment uses several different technologies, including skin electrodes, marked contact lenses, image processing cameras, and reflector trackers. The last type is probably the most effective, as it does not require physical contact with the user's eye/eye socket. Instead, a beam of light is projected onto the eye; a sophisticated camera picks up the difference between the pupil refection and known reference points to determine what the user is looking at.

How do I do it?

Eye tracking involves sophisticated, usually expensive equipment. In most cases, unless the particular product you're testing requires eye tracking testing, it's best to find a usability lab that has already purchased an eye tracker and rent time at that lab for your testing.

When should I use this technique?

Use this technique when you absolutely have to identify what a person looks at during a usability test. For most products, regular inspection or testing methods will identify enough usability problems to the point that eye tracking isn't necessary.

Who can tell me more?

Click on any of the following links for more information:

Dumas, JS, and Redish, Janice, A Practical Guide to Usability Testing, 1993, Ablex, Norwood, NJ
ISBN 0-89391-991-8 (paper)

Lindgaard, G., Usability Testing and System Evaluation: A Guide for Designing Useful Computer Systems, 1994, Chapman and Hall, London, U.K. ISBN 0-412-46100-5

Rubin, Jeffrey, Handbook of Usability Testing, 1994, John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY ISBN 0-471-59403-2 (paper)


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