Lean eye tracking – making eye tracking quick and affordable

Eye tracking can be a valuable tool in the UX tool kit, however for some teams, it is perceived as being expensive and long winded. In agile and lean environments (where time and unnecessary steps are being trimmed out whenever possible), consultants need to come up with ways to make set up, testing and transferring findings as seamless as possible. In this post I want to share some tips I’ve learned over the years to make eye tracking both cost and time efficient. 

1) Establish clear objectives and areas of interest

Like in any project, it is essential to have clear research and business objectives. The same goes for what you want to get out of eye tracking. Make sure all the key areas and hypotheses pertaining to eye tracking are communicated before the testing starts. Ask your client to outline the following:
  • Which pages/areas are of the most interest? 
  • Are there specific copy, navigation or multimedia elements we want feedback on? 
  • How do we expect eyes to behave (any hypotheses)?

Understanding these questions puts the moderator in a good position to hit the ground running once fieldwork starts.

2) Analyse in real time

Too often eye tracking is sold as a sexy set of heatmaps. While these are appealing (and sometimes insightful), I find the most valuable form of eye tracking is in real time viewing. This form of insight allows the moderator to understand objective user behaviour and discuss immediately after. The moderator’s screen can also be live-streamed over the web so other members of the team can be a part of the real time analysis without having to leave their desks (or country for that matter).

Some examples of real time observations include:

  • What is being focused on (and what is missed)
  • Long & repeat gazes
  • The gaze journey
In my experience, real time viewing is more valuable to the analysis than any other eye tracking output. Remember to timestamp interesting behaviours and always verify your own observations and hypotheses with the respondent using follow up questions or retrospective think aloud techniques.

3) Streamline analysis

Finally, take time out of the analysis phase by using the software in smarter ways (I am using Tobii Studio). Create video segments (video clips) right after saving the recording and debriefing with your respondent. This works especially well if you have another consutant helping you or during the time your participant fills out an exit questionnaire. I usually do this in the following steps:
  1. Isolate segments quickly by using timestamps or by replaying the footage faster than real time. 
  2. Use the finding or observation as a file name. Do this for as many of the eye tracking findings as you can. 
  3. Add in relevant heatmaps and gaze trails (from your pre-determined areas of interest we talked about in step 1)

With these steps you’ve got the eye tracking collateral you need to make a compelling case for your findings.

Just like screen recording and online surveys, eye tracking is a great tool to help you achieve confident results. Incorporating eye tracking in to lean and agile environments doesn’t need to be an expensive and cumbersome experience, providing you have the right technology and approach. Have you found any tricks to using eye tracking efficiently?

Further reading: Lean UX and the dichotomy of being a UX consultant by Tim Yeo



Dan is the Research Manager at Objective Digital. When he’s not conducting eye tracking studies and uncovering customer insights he is doing DIY, playing Xbox and enjoying an ice cold margarita.

This entry was posted in Eye tracking, Mobile eyetracking, User Experience and tagged , , by Objective Experience. Bookmark the permalink.

About Objective Experience

Objective Experience is your partner for customer experience strategy, research, design and usability testing. Our team of passionate Customer Experience Consultants uncover insights from your customers to optimize customer journeys across all digital and physical channels – mobile apps, websites, systems, shopper and retail. We research on how customers interact with products, services and environments through interviews, surveys, focus groups, desk research, eye tracking and usability testing. Actionable recommendations are developed from our in-depth observations and testing. Our partners and clients come from a wide range of businesses and industries - from large financial institutions and government organisations to technical consultancies, Universities and not-for-profit businesses. Objective Digital Holdings Pty Ltd has offices in Sydney (Objective Experience Sydney) and Singapore (Objective Experience Singapore). Eye Tracking, CX, UX, Usability Testing, Shopper Research & Design Thinking across Australasia and South East Asia.

2 thoughts on “Lean eye tracking – making eye tracking quick and affordable

  1. Pingback: Lean is in! | Eye Tracking in Asia

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