Prior to reading this week’s material, I was familiar with eye-tracking research as applied to web design and SEO. The whole concept of working hard to get your website in the top Google search results is based on eye-tracking research that shows the majority of users only click on the first few results. So I had already seen the heat maps and related info from the Google Maps whitepaper. Additionally, several best-practice principles of web design layout are derived from eye-tracking technology, which I’ve read the background information on.
It was interesting to read more in-depth about the research methodology of eye and click tracking. I always wondered how they actually tracked the clicks, and I like how Eye Tracking Technologies: An Introduction detailed a few technologies researchers use to track eyes and clicks. These studies are useful in understanding how to best design for and communicate with our audience.
One recent application I’ve seen of eye tracking research is studying internet user engagement with advertising. This MediaPost.com article explores how eye tracking research is being used to find which ads resonate with users, and how a new push in the online advertising industry is paying only for ads that were actually seen by the user, since many are not.
“Viewability is nice, but viewability just means that an ad is within the viewable area of a screen,” notes Bander, adding: “It doesn’t mean a consumer is actually looking at your ad.”
Since I manage online advertising campaigns, I deal with different technologies we use to monitor the viewability of our ads and listen to vendors presentations that try to highlight how their product offers advanced viewability and interactivity features.
It’s interesting to think of what future applications we can apply eye and click tracking research to, since the research method has been around for 100 years and progressed with all the changes in communication in that time.
- Can you reference any eye-tracking research that influences your work?
- Do you think you read information on a screen the way that research shows most people do? If not, how do you differ?
- The term “digital native” refers to someone who is among the first adults who don’t have strong recollection of life before digital. Do you think this population is disadvantaged in any way? (The advantage is clear.)