Eye tracking is a more expensive quantitative method than other research method. You cannot do it with remote users, as you need to have a physical space and environment set up. You also need special software and hardware to be able to record the eye movement and map it to your product or website.
Here's a great overview video:
Why use eye tracking?
it's is an effective tool to figure out the following:
- What are your users looking at?
- How long they are looking at it for?
- How does their focus change as they move through the website?
- Which elements are most prominent?
- Do they read content in full, or just scan it?
- How to different types of user group scan the website?
But there are several downsides to the technique
- Even if people looked at an element, you cannot be sure they have really noticed and understood it.
- Since it is an unmoderated, task driven technique, you don't know why the user looked at an element.
- Eye tracking cannot track peripheral vision, which is often important.
Interesting eye tracking findings
How users read on the web
People scan the website content instead of reading it. There are fixation points on the website as they are trying to find the relevant information. They are looking for keywords and highlighted elements on a website and trying to process the information to make decisions. You can read more in this Norman Nielsen Group post.
Eye tracking studies revealed that users tend to parse the website in a F shaped pattern. The main learnings are that:
- Users won't read all the information
- You should aim to write clear and engaging titles.
Eye tracking studies have showed that people tend to abandon banners and focus on the content reading or scanning. Read more.
Information-carrying images gets users attention and it is considered good, while purely decorative images tend to get ignored.