Eye Tracking

Eye tracking is the recording and evaluation of eye movements in relation to a certain surface (e. g. a screen). The moments in which the gaze stays longer at a certain point are recorded in particularly, or at points in which the eyes move back and forth quickly or slowly. Eye tracking uses so-called eye trackers. Today, eye tracking is used in science, online marketing and neuromarketing. The results from eye tracking are often visualized in heat maps. For example, F-shape patterns can be created here.

Development

The analysis of eye movements is not an invention of the 20th century. Research was carried out in this area as early as the 19th century – mainly analyzing the movements of the gaze during reading. With the invention of the film camera at the beginning of the 20th century, new possibilities for eye tracking arose.

Various methods of eye tracking have been used since the 1970s, which differ in that they either evaluate reflexes on the retina or cornea of the eye, or measure movements using special contact lenses or attachments.

Today, there are usually two basic types of eye trackers:

  • mobile eye tracker: here the devices for eye tracking are fixed on the patient's head. The test person can move around freely. Mobile eye trackers can also be used in situations outside the laboratory.
  • Remote eye tracker: this system for eye tracking is installed in or underneath a monitor. The subject can look freely while the system registers his or her eye movements.

Areas of use

There are many applications for eye tracking – the most important are listed here:

  • Advertising: Eye tracking plays an important role in marketing. For example, it is used in the analysis of POS (point of sale) to optimize shelves or improve displays in retail stores. Eye tracking can also provide information on the efficiency of printing or content arrangement when developing new packaging. Market research also works with eye trackers, among other things, to make targeting more efficient. Google is also experimenting with eye tracking and has already filed a patent for the use of eye tracking[1], which is believed to be connected with its Google Glass.
  • Medicine: in laser treatment of eye diseases, eye trackers are used to determine the exact position where the laser should work. Eye tracking is also used to investigate balance problems or visual impairment. In addition, this method is also an important tool for the examination of neurological diseases.
  • Psychology: the connection between statements and glances can be better documented with the help of eye tracking. Eye tracking is also used to find the truth in popular research on the topic of "lies".
  • Machine control: since smartphones are nowadays mostly controlled by gestures, some manufacturers like Samsung already offer a control via the gaze, such as in the Galaxy S4 model.[2]

Eye Tracking in E-Commerce

When buying in an online shop, the design of the shop plays a major role. Where product information is placed can be a decisive factor in terms of triggering a conversion. The placement of banners or other display advertising is just as important. This is not only a question of possible interaction with the user, but also the price paid for an ad item.

Eye Tracking is also used to analyze website design using different display systems such as browsers, screen sizes or different end devices. Google also uses eye-tracking methods to design its SERP advertising space around the SERP in order to create optimal conditions for advertising customers.

With the help of eye tracking, those responsible can determine how content affects the visitors of a website and where users' glances are. Thus, eye tracking offers a well-founded analysis method that can meaningfully support web design and delivers more than just the fact that content "above the fold", i.e. without scrolling, is better perceived by users.

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