Following up on the Eye Tracking post

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.

He concludes:

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.

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