14 Cool Tips for Effective Eye Tracking

30 Dec 2015

1. Set a clear objective

So why is it that you need eye tracking? That should be the first thing that pops into your mind, when about to use eye tracking technology. Actually, that is true for any research technology you use. Make sure to set a clear objective for your project.

Example: Bad objective. Let’s try and test it with eye tracking as well and see what happens.

Good objective(s). Find out if branding on our AD/video/printed materials is effective; see if customers notice the elements we want them to notice or do they get distracted by other elements; understand if product is visible on the shelf, when put next to competing products; find out if website navigation is effective; learn which out of two advertisement designs is more effective; see if our product placement is effective.

2. Don’t test the obvious

There is no need to test straightforward materials with eye tracking. You might consider emotion measurement.

Example: Entire plot of the video you are about to test is built around one product/element. This element will always be central – in focus, often showed in a close-up. Naturally, people will be drawn to it, giving you no greater insights than you already knew. There is very little practical applications to such results.

3. Rotate. Rotate. Rotate

Make sure to check 'rotate' or 'randomize' box before launching the project, which tests multiple materials. The placement of products on a shelf, order in which they are shown in a row, directly impacts your results. To ensure your data isn’t biased, make sure to enable rotation. Then the system will make sure to show materials in different order to every next respondent.

Example: Bottle of Pepsi is always displayed at consumer’s eye level, while Coke is always displayed in the corner. Naturally, Pepsi appears to have a more noticeable packaging, while in fact, it could have been the placement that made it noticeable, not superior bottle design.

4. Survey data + Eye Tracking data = Full Picture

The best way to get the full picture is to cross-reference data from eye tracking and data from a survey. It is easily done when eye tracking question is already integrated into a survey.

Example: According to your survey a particular advertisement has low brand recognition. Implement eye tracking - mark all of the branding elements as areas of interest (AOI). Now cross-reference with data from the survey and see if respondents noticed these elements. If respondents noticed the element but forgot about it – then you need to change the element itself. If respondents didn’t see your branding at all, then you might consider changing elements’ placement or size.

5. What’s behind the pretty picture?

Don’t rely solely on visualizations. Heatmaps, gaze plots, opacity maps give you a nice colorful output. Now check the stats behind those pictures to ensure you make the right conclusions

6. Say NO to discrimination

Make sure to use the same set up for all your target groups. Use the same size of a questionnaire, same screen dimensions, same order of rotation (automatically enabled in CoolTool, when rotation box is checked). Also, make sure your materials are corresponding in quality and visualization manner.

Example: If you enhance colors on one picture, you will make it more noticeable than the one with unenhanced colors. Similarly, black & white element will stand out on a colorful picture. By doing this you manipulate consumer’s attention, compromising data from an eye tracking test.

7. Keep it real

Details matter. Your set up has to be as close to a real life as possible.

Example: Consumer passes by the shelf in 3 to 5 seconds. In this case, the optimal amount of time to display tested materials on the screen to the respondent is 4 seconds.

Product shelf has 50 different products to choose from. It is best to have all of them represented in your survey when testing product shelf placement.

The store has dark shelves with a light background. Then you need to select the exact same shelf template (CoolTool allows you to customize your shelf template) when creating an eye tracking question.

12 oz bottle is smaller than 20 oz bottle. Then on the screen, the image of a 12 oz bottle should be proportionally smaller than 20 oz bottle.

8. Quality over quantity

You can upload as many images to the survey as you want. Technologically, survey is equipped for that. However, keep your tests short to achieve better quality of results.

Example: When showing more than 1 to 2 minutes of stimuli (ads, video, website, packaging, etc.) in a row respondents get bored and lose their focus. Keep that in mind, when trying to show twenty images in a row to one person. 

9. Avoid repetitions

If you want your respondents to be engaged, try to avoid showing similar images one by one. Same goes for questions.

Example: Respondents recognize repetitive material, as the one they already saw or answered, which prevents you from getting accurate results. Try shuffling similar stimuli with questions and other stimuli.

10. Conditions matter

Make sure respondents seat up straight, this ensures a better quality of results with devices that do not have a head adjustment.

Example: Provide a chair that wouldn’t allow your respondent to spin or to turn. Make sure respondent adjusts the chair before eye tracker is initialized.

11. Spread net wide

It is always good to have a wider pool to choose from. Don’t limit yourself geographically. The beauty of portable eye tracking devices is that you can send them to any destination. This should not affect the cost of your research too much as eye-tracking devices are available at reasonable prices if you opt for affordable devices that are easy to transport.

Example: You need to conduct tests in different places or even in different cities or countries - use multiple devices simultaneously by shipping them onsite.

12. Use .png

It is recommended to use images in PNG format when testing products on a shelf.

Example: Bottle in a PNG format would appear on a shelf as if it would in a real life, while other formats show bottle as if it is flat or add a white background to the picture.

13. Account for human error

People make mistakes. Scan through your data to delete answers with poor calibration ratings or those, where respondents got distracted.

Example: Several respondents were talking to an interviewer, while taking the test, so they glanced at an interviewer a couple of times. Eye tracker would record this eye movement, which will later skew the overall test results and data visualizations.

14. Get ready-to-use solutions

You can find ready-to-use solutions at CoolTool. Some of them are available for free and some are for sale, depending on a supplier you choose. However, all of them take into account all of the recommendations listed above. Enabling you to conduct eye-tracking tests in a fast and effective manner. It is always easier to seek help from an expert than become an expert in every part of the research.




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