Technology which calculates and records what users are looking at, for the evaluation of user interfaces
Eye tracking is a usability testing technology that determines the direction of a user’s gaze to calculate the point on a screen where their attention is focused, and records this data many times per second. Video of the interface in use is captured and overlaid with visualized representation of the gaze data, which can allow additional insight into the behavior of users. Besides the gaze data itself, video and audio of the user themselves is often captured to assist interpretation.
Typically, the test facilitator will be present to watch the user’s performance in real time, but complete capture of all data allows for review and in-depth analysis after the test has finished. Other traditional user testing techniques like observation, interviews and the think-aloud protocol are often combined with eye tracking to substantiate findings.
Due to the high sample rate, it is possible to precisely calculate useful data points like discovery time. Gaze plot and heatmap visualizations are key products of eye tracking analysis software, and are used as evidence to demonstrate observations and back up suggestions.