Traditional methods of user research and requirements gathering have long served us to help shape our designs. But as systems become more complex and users go beyond the screen, we are finding that it is getting more and more difficult to get accurate data on why our users, customers and even your staff are doing the things they do.
Often, it is difficult to get buy-in from stakeholders just based on verbatim comments from customer or insights based on the designer’s experience. This is where we’ve found eye tracking to be really valuable. It puts the science behind the hypotheses and clears up a lot of arguments.
Contextual inquiry has been a researcher’s best friend for a while now. It’s a tried and true research method which helps collect insights from the field without having to rely on the user’s memory or articulateness. But what users say they do and what they do are not enough to draw a complete picture of what’s happening. Many questions can be answered by where they look because the design of the system dictates the eye movements of the user.
Eye tracking enables the researcher to uncover subconscious eye movements of the user while using the system. Most of these eye movements happen without the user’s control or knowledge. More importantly, with eye tracking we can understand a busy person’s experience without distracting them from the task at hand, for example a call centre operator.
In a recent study of call centre systems, we observed where call centre operators looked at while serving customers over the phone. We found that the flow of the operators’ eye gaze on the screen was completely opposite to how the interface was laid out. This resulted in higher levels of stress for the operator as they had to constantly look for information on the screen and it was straining on their eyes as well. Even the operators and the stakeholders were surprised when they saw how their eyes were moving.
If you would like to learn more about conducting user research with an eye tracker, we have written a white paper on it that explains in more detail our eye tracking methodology and how you can introduce eye tracking into your lean UX processes. Download the white paper and drop us a line if you any questions.