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Within our world of behavioural research we see a split regarding where our clients come from; either from companies approaching us directly, or referred by design agencies. Increasingly eye tracking is being sought out by agencies that have a need to add user research and also diversify their product services to clients. Companies are looking to create the best experience for the end user within their sector, and for this to happen a user centred design approach needs to be adopted with user research supporting the process.
Benefits of eye tracking to agencies
The benefit of eye tracking is that it enables a type of research where you can access the reasons why people do what they do. It allows research to take place that is very natural and not stressful to the person taking part. This means more truthful findings that can be trusted by the team.
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1. Participant recruitment
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of careful and thorough selection procedures when recruiting for an eye tracking study. In a conventional depth interview or focus group a close, but not ideal fit of participant to the recruitment criteria can often be overlooked. However, the subconscious nature of eye movements makes it very hard for a participant to ‘hide’ behind scenarios and imagined motivations, you need the real thing. It might surprise you to learn the range of behavioural and attitudinal criteria we typically recruit against. Experience has taught us that shared behaviours are far more important than shared demo- and geo-graphics.
2. Research environment & technical quality
Some providers offer remote testing methods for screen based quantitative eye tracking, where users are not required to come in to a lab. There are obvious cost savings associated with this as users can be in different locations. However, several grave issues arise with this approach;
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Eye tracking in market research has a chequered history. Like many methods that have made it into the researchers’ toolkit it followed considerable hype. However eye tracking has proven a particularly difficult labour of acceptance, largely through no fault of its own. The tools, techniques and surrounding methodology have grown up considerably of late and the eye tracking industry has come a long way in a few short years. Today eye tracking is frequently applied in the field of web design and usability testing yet remains relatively under used in market research.
We recognise that early adopters of eye tracking, done badly, may have been burned and that this had bred a hesitance to engage. This article is intended to re-familiarise the research buyer and agency researcher alike with the initial enthusiasm for the method and to help them rediscover the meaningful insight and opportunities eye tracking can provide. This article covers the basic uses of eye-tracking, what to consider when buying it and, crucially, how the range of ways eye tracking can be conducted and analysed contribute greatly to its quality and potential value to a business.
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