Frequently Asked Questions
These common questions about eye tracking and their short answers are taken from Aga Bojko’s book Eye Tracking the User Experience: A Practical Guide to Research. You can find longer answers to each in your copy of the book, either printed or digital version.
- Do I need eye tracking in my research?
It’s like asking “Do I need a microscope?” You don’t need one to see the dust bunnies under your bed, but you do if you want to find a dust mite. It all depends on what you are looking for. So maybe you do need eye tracking, maybe you don’t.Let Chapter 2 be the judge.
- Eye tracking is not useful. I’ve seen heatmaps, and they didn’t tell me much.
First, this is not a question. Second, eye tracking is so much more than heatmaps. (As described in Chapter 11, those should only be used in a supplemental role.) Third, whoever gave you heatmaps in place of actual data analysis needs to read this book. Cover to cover. I will gladly hold on to their eye tracker until they are done.
- How many participants should I get for an eye tracking study?
42.Just kidding. As much as you’d like a simple answer, there isn’t one. If you are ready for the truth about sample size and all the factors that it depends on, make yourself a sandwich and proceed to Chapter 8.
- Which eye tracking measures should I use?
None, if your study is purely formative, and you are just looking for usability issues. But if you are conducting summative research, you should choose your measures based on the cognitive processes you’re trying to assess. There is no one measure that is perfect for every study, not even my favorite—average fixation duration.Chapter 7 will gently guide you in your measure selection process.
- How do I analyze the data?
Brownie points for asking the question! Yes, data need to be analyzed before they can provide useful information. You don’t just generate some heatmaps or scanpaths and call it a day. First, you carefully prepare your data for analysis. (Data cleansing is key.) Then, depending on the type of analysis—qualitative or quantitative—you systematically inspect visualizations or calculate statistics.For step-by-step instructions, refer to Chapters 10 through 13.
- Why do you keep saying that eye tracking is “just not that special?”
Because as a method, it really isn’t. An eye tracking study should be subject to the same research principles as any non-eye tracking UX study. There are, of course, a few additional considerations, but the core is always the solid and well-established scientific method. Once everyone realizes that, eye tracking will become a more rigorous and systematic undertaking in the UX field than it may have been thus far. And that’s the goal of this book.