Although in recent years, the adoption of usability tests has become more and more mainstream, typically, performing quality eye tracking tests has been out of reach for all but the biggest agencies with unlimited budgets.
Thankfully, we are seeing that change over time.
With high quality, sophisticated camera technology coming down in price, and become a standard part of the everyday web cams that we use to collaborate and communicate over the web, increasingly we are seeing web startups take advantage of that trend.
The following eye tracking websites offer cost-effective services for a fraction of the traditional price, giving you the data you need to make important decisions about the designs of your pages based on not only what we people do, but where they look on the page as well.
Pricing: Starting at $495 for 10 studies
Gazehawk offers a crowd sourced solution for eye tracking, with participants using a web cam based application that watches and record their detailed movements as they browse your site. I’ve previously used them to generate heat mapping results for major blogs around the web to great effect.
Both raw eye tracking data and a heatmap are provided, with results coming through on average after about 7 days. You can also access a replay feature from within their systems – allowing you to watch exactly what areas of the site your participants were attracted to. Gazehawk recognise that heatmaps are only useful with aggregate data from multiple users, so they work with a minimum of 10 participants per study, and also allow the use of your own demographic of users.
More detailed analysis and reporting is available with the more expensive options, but these offer more reporting on the actual time spent ‘gazing’ at particular areas, and the order in which they were viewed.
Pricing: Starting at free for 5 participants
YouEye offer 24hour results from their eye tracking service, and also crowd source the candidates from around the web for taking tests. These candidates can be provided direct from the service within particular demographics. It’s easy for testers to get up and running extremely quickly from within the browser – using a combination of the microphone recording and screen recording powered by Flash.
There is a free offering of 1 user test per month which may interest some people, provided you are happy to provide the candidates from your own pool of participants. (Up to a maximum of 5 people – shouldn’t be difficult to find).
Samples of multiple different tests are also provided by the YouEye team , which can provide you with inspiration on what you might want to test on your site or you can create your own from scratch. A popup embed can also be added to your site with a small line of code – letting your existing visitors help you learn about their behaviour. Playback of exactly how those visitors behaved on your site within these tests is then provided to you same day in video format, making it even quicker to gain insight into your visitor behaviour.
Eyetrackshop is an eye tracking platform, with a multitude of alternate use case scenarios. Aiming itself firmly at the marketing industry, it provides feedback on advertising media across multiple platforms, which allows you to test the effectiveness of your campaign before your audience see it.
You can for example use it for testing online advertising, print advertising, website analysis or even product design to gauge people’s opinion. Simply upload your media file, and Eyetrackshop will distribute it across the web, giving you feedback from respondents all over the world. Participants webcams are properly calibrated with the eyetrackshop software, and then asked a number of survey questions based around the uploaded media.
You can gain insight into the average time spent on Ad, and time to time to first flirtation (a reflection of how long it took participants to respond). The final survey data is collated, and then sent to you for further analysis. Not only that, but a comparison database can also be used to give you a feel for how well your advertisement stacks up against similar campaigns, letting you increase your ROI based on the visual effectiveness of your media.
If online or website based services aren’t for you, or you fancy setting up your own in house solution, there are a number of open source and commercial products on the market, as below.
GrinBath’s EyeGuide eye tracking software and hardware is sub $1,500, and offers an entry level solution for small to medium size businesses.
A hardware solution that is a bit more high end use, MiraMetrix offer the S2 Eye tracker for around $5,000.
The DIEM project is led by Professor John Henderson, director of the Visual Cognition Lab at the University of Edinburgh, and is based around the OpenFrameworks C++ creative library. The data together with CARPE will let you visualize where people look during dynamic scene viewing such as during film trailers, music videos, or advertisements.
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About the Author (Author Profile)Paul is a web bloke / programmer with a penchant for online marketing. This blog is a personal outlet, with an eclectic mix of articles.
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