Seeing how people really use online technology with the Tobii eye-tracker

Liveblog notes from an IET Technology Coffee Morning, 16 December 2009.

Presenters: Patrick McAndrew, Graham Healing, with input from Elpida Makriyannis and Anne Adams

We have a Tobii eye-tracker in the labs, which isn’t used as heavily as it could be. Aim for today is to show how easy it is to use, and explore some of the ways it could be developed.

History – a few years ago, Graham and Patrick were trying to improve the OpenLearn website. It was hard to know whether their worries about its effectiveness were real. Used an eye tracker to do a brief study of what actually happens. It was amazingly revealing, and very efficient – just a few minutes of recording and playback showed them the interactions on the site. That then grew in to quite a study, with analysis. At that point, the technology was hard work – took many extra hours. But now have bought more recent kit, with software upgrades, which make it very easy to use.

Some classic research in to how people read pages – like Jakob Nielsen’s classic (2001) work showing an F-shaped reading pattern for web pages. But is it still true?

Has been around since the 1950s! Now more up to date – see e.g. this presentation, which is about the machine we have:

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