Following up on my critique of eye tracking as a technique for gathering usabilty input, I just discovered a post from Jared Spool from mid-June titled “Eyetracking: Worth the Expense?” Great to see that Jared seconds my thoughts from his wealth of experience:
But do they have diagnostic value? Can we actually learn what to change in our designs from them?
Well, after watching hundreds of eyetracking tests, I can tell you it?s still really hard to know what you can learn from them.
He says the technique has the following drawbacks:
- The devices are too expensive, and people have to be trained to use them properly.
- The number of participants grows because not every test participant can be used for eye tracking.
- Calibrating the device takes up valuable time that could be used for gathering user input.
- Interpreting the heat maps still is rather difficult ? and sometimes it’s unclear what they really tell you.
Eyetracking is fun to watch and produces cool output. It can serve as a good demonstration that users approach designs differently than we imagine. But can we find a useful place in our research process that is worth all the hassle and expense? I?m still not convinced.
Neither am I.