The eyes may not have it: Decision making does not always relate to eye tracking behaviour on interfaces.

Authors: McDougall, S.

Conference: Human Factors & Ergonomics Society Conference (Europe Chapter )

Dates: 24-26 October 2016


Website usability research utilising eye tracking assumes there is a systematic relationship between what users attend to and the evaluations and decisions they make (e.g., Nainwal, 2013). The present research examined users’ eye movements as they evaluated the informativeness or appeal of websites. When evaluating informativeness, participants made more fixations and spent longer examining areas of written detail in comparison to pictorial areas. The reverse pattern of eye movements was observed when users evaluated website appeal. When asked for the reasons for decisions they made, participants evaluating appeal reported features associated with visual design (e.g. colour and design) while those evaluating informativeness reported ease of navigation and access to information more often. This suggests a systematic relationship between eye tracking and user evaluations. However, users’ evaluation ratings were the same irrespective of whether they were evaluating appeal or informativeness. This applied even when participants were shown websites for such short durations that effective eye movements were not possible. This suggests there may sometimes be a disconnect between participants’ eye movements, their introspections, and their evaluation decisions.

Findings are interpreted in the light of research suggesting that we can evaluate the global properties of scenes extremely rapidly (Green & Oliva, 2009).

Source: Manual