Investigating contributions of eye-tracking to website usability testing
Russell, Mark C.
AdvisorChaparro, Barbara S.
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Research applying eye-tracking to usability testing is increasing in popularity. A great deal of data can be obtained with eye-tracking, but there is little guidance as to how eye-movement data can be used in software usability testing. In the current study, users’ eye-movements were recorded while they completed a series of tasks on one of three e-commerce websites specializing in educational toys. Four main research questions were addressed in this study: (1) Are eye-tracking measures correlated with the more traditional measures of website usability (e.g., success, time on task, number of pages visited); (2) Are eye-tracking measures sensitive to differences in task difficulty; (3) Are eye-tracking measures sensitive to differences in site usability; and (4) How does the design of a website drive user eye-movements? Traditional usability performance measures consisted of time on task, number of pages visited, and perceived task difficulty. Eye-tracking measures included the number of fixations, total dwell time, and average fixation duration. In general, all these measures were found to be highly correlated with one another, with the exception of average fixation duration. The two groups of measures generally agreed on differences in task difficulty; tasks showing high scores on one variable (e.g., time on task) showed high results on other measures (e.g., number of fixations). Similar agreement among measures was observed in comparisons of the sites on each task. The unique contributions of eye-tracking to usability testing were best realized in qualitative examinations of eye-tracking data in relation to specific areas of interest (AOIs) on site pages, which demonstrated this to be a useful tool in understanding how aspects of design may drive users’ visual exploration of a web page.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology.