Introductory articles

  • Eye tracking
    "Eye tracking is the process of measuring either the point of gaze (where we are looking) or the motion of an eye relative to the head. An eye tracker is a device for measuring eye positions and eye movement. Eye trackers are used in research on the visual system, in psychology, in cognitive linguistics and in product design. There are a number of methods for measuring eye movement. The most popular variant uses video images from which the eye position is extracted. Other methods use search coils or are based on the electrooculogram."

Discussion articles

  • Introduction to eyetracking: see through your users' eyes
    "Eyetracking can show which parts of your user interfaces users see and which parts seem to be invisible to them--not just by observing users and gathering qualitative data, but also by analyzing their gaze plots and other quantitative data."
    (Matteo Penzo - UXmatters)

  • Banner blindness - old and new findings
    "Users rarely look at display advertisements on websites. Of the four design elements that do attract a few ad fixations, one is unethical and reduces the value of advertising networks. "
    (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)

  • Eyetracking: is it worth it?
    "Does eyetracking really provide any additional insights you would not have discovered anyway through traditional usability testing? Does the value of eyetracking outweigh its limitations? This article will discuss and answer these questions."
    (Jim Ross - UXmatters)

  • Eyetracking methodology
    "This report presents our advice on the best way to run eyetracking studies (mainly of websites and intranets) so that you generate valid usability insights. It warns against many common pitfalls that lead to bogus results. This is purely a report on methods: how you should conduct your own research. (Including a chapter with advice on whether you should employ eyetracking at all, or whether simpler usability studies will give your company a higher ROI.)"
    (Nielsen Norman Group)

  • F-shaped pattern for reading web content
    "Eyetracking visualizations show that users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe. "
    (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)

  • Fancy formatting, fancy words = looks like a promotion = ignored
    "One site did most things right, but still had a miserable 14% success rate for its most important task. The reason? Users ignored a key area because it resembled a promotion. "
    (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)

  • Show numbers as numerals when writing for online readers
    "It's better to use '23' than 'twenty-three' to catch users' eyes when they scan web pages for facts, according to eyetracking data."
    (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)

  • Talking head video is boring online
    "Eyetracking data show that users are easily distracted when watching video on websites, especially when the video shows a talking head and is optimized for broadcast rather than online viewing. "
    (Jakob Nielsen - Alertbox)

Research articles

  • Eye gaze patterns while searching vs browsing a website
    "This article discusses users' visual scan paths of web pages containing text and/or pictures while conducting browsing and searching tasks. User performance on three usability tasks on an e-commerce website is described. Results show that users follow a fairly uniform scan path when browsing through pictures, and a more random path while specifically searching through them. Additionally, users appeared to follow Nielsen's 'F' pattern (2006) while both browsing and searching through text-based pages."
    (Sav Shrestha, Kelsi Lenz - Usability News Vol. 9, Issue 1)

  • Eye movement analysis of text-based web page layouts
    "User eye movements of five different text-based web page layouts were compared. The layouts evaluated were a narrow 1-column, narrow 2-column and full-length text layouts, including those with a picture on the right and a picture on the left of the article paragraph. All of these were evaluated while users conducted a simple browse task. Heatmap and fixation count data showed no significant difference in the fixation count between the different page layouts. The heatmaps of the layouts shared a similar F-pattern for fixations, with the concentration of the fixations above the fold. Further analysis showed a similar order of fixations on the 2-column and the full-length layout conditions and an identical order of fixations on the picture-left and the picture-right layout conditions. The narrow 1-column layout showed a fixation order different from the other layouts."
    (Sav Shrestha, Justin W Owens - Usability News Vol. 11, Issue 1)

  • Eye movement patterns on single and dual-column web pages
    " This study examines eye movement patterns of users browsing or searching a 1-column and 2-column news article on a web page. The results show a higher number of fixations for information in the second column of an article than for the same information in the lower portion of a single column. In addition, the typical "F" pattern appeared in the left column of the 2-column layout, but not in the right column. Users also fixated more on other page elements, s"
    (Sav Shrestha, Justin W Owens - Usability News Vol. 10, Issue 1)

  • Hotspots and hyperlinks: using eyetracking to supplement usability testing
    "This article discusses how eye-tracking can be used to supplement traditional usability test measures. User performance on two usability tasks with three e-commerce websites is described. Results show that eye-tracking data can be used to better understand how users initiate a search for a targeted link or web object. Frequency, duration and order of visual attention to Areas of Interest (AOIs) in particular are informative as supplemental information to standard usability testing in understanding user expectations and making design recommendations."
    (Mark C Russell - Usability News Vol. 7, Issue 2)

  • How do users browse a portal website? An examination of user eye movements
    "This study examined the eye movement patterns of users browsing a web-based portal interface. Results demonstrate consistent scan patterns in both 2 and 3-column portal layouts. In the 2-column portal, users viewed the page through the top, left channel and proceeded to scan the rest of the portal page in a reverse 'S' pattern by row. In the 3-column portal layout, users typically started scanning in the top, center channel, and then proceeded to scan in a reverse 'S' pattern through the rest of channels by row. Implications of these results to portal design are discussed."
    (Justin W Owens, Sav Shrestha - Usability News Vol. 10, Issue 2)

  • Testing web sites with eye-tracking
    "We asked users to look for specific information on the site. When deciding which link to click, users typically looked first in the center area, then in the left panel, then in the right column. Users spent an average of 11 seconds on each of the pages we tested."
    (Will Schroeder - User Interface Engineering)

  • The best of eyetrack III: what we saw when we looked through their eyes
    News websites have been with us for about a decade, and editors and designers still struggle with many unanswered questions: Is homepage layout effective? What effect do blurbs on the homepage have compared to headlines? When is multimedia appropriate? Are ads placed where they will be seen by the audience?
    (Steve Outing, Laura Ruel - Poynter Institute)

  • Using eyetracking to compare web page designs: a case study
    "A proposed design for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Web site was evaluated against the original design in terms of the ease with which the right starting points for key tasks were located and processed. This report focuses on the eye tracking methodology that accompanied other conventional usability practices used in the evaluation. Twelve ASCO members were asked to complete several search tasks using each design. Performance measures such as click accuracy and time on task were supplemented with eye movements which allowed for an assessment of the processes that led to both the failures and the successes. The report details three task examples in which eye tracking helped diagnose errors and identify the better of the two designs (and the reasons for its superiority) when both were equally highly successful. Advantages and limitations of the application of eye tracking to design comparison are also discussed."
    (Agnieszka Bojko - Journal of Usability Studies)

  • Using eyetracking data to understand first impressions of a website
    "This study discusses the contributions of eye-tracking data to traditional usability test measures for first-time usage of websites. Participants viewed the homepages of three different websites. Results showed that eye-movement data supplemented what users verbally reported in their reactions to a site. In particular, the eye-tracking data revealed which aspects of the website received more visual attention and in what order they were viewed."
    (Mark C Russell - Usability News Vol. 7, Issue 1)