What is Eye gaze Tracking?
Eye gaze tracking is the process of measuring eye activity, also known as the point of gaze. More specifically, it analyses human processing of visual information, measuring attention, interest, and arousal, making it an incredibly useful tool for research on human (and, increasingly, consumer) behavior.
Eye gaze technology has made quite a leap in recent years, moving away from the more intrusive eye gaze trackers, which required physical contact with the user, to eye gaze tracking technology that is based on digital video analysis of eye movement.
How does Eye Gaze Tracking work?
Eye gaze tracking records the point of gaze and eye movement in relation to the environment. The Pupil Center Corneal Reflection (PCCR) technique is the most commonly used to perform video-based eye gaze tracking. The PCCR technique works as follows:
The angle of the visual axis (or the location of the fixation point on the display surface) is calculated by tracking the relative position of the pupil center and a speck of light reflected from the cornea, technically known as “glint”. The system can be further enhanced and made accurate by using low-level infrared light to illuminate the eyes, which produce the “bright pupil” effect. This makes video image easier to process.
In essence, eye gaze tracking works by collecting data using either a remote or head-mounted eye tracker that is connected to a computer. There are many types available on the market today but generally, they consist of a light source and a camera or video camera. The data is used to extrapolate the rotation of the eye and hence gaze direction. In addition, information such as blink frequency and changes in pupil size are also measured. The data is then analyzed, and each eye data observation is translated into a set of pixel coordinates, which show the presence of eye data points in different parts of the screen. Through this data, information about what people see and pay attention to is revealed.
Why is Eye Gaze Tracking important?
Eye gaze tracking is important because it can be used to help advertisers, marketing agencies, and research professionals, across many different industries, measure a person’s point of focus and attention.
In the commercial world, marketing professionals understand that getting consumers’ attention is harder now than it was many years ago. This is due to the sheer number of connected devices that consumers are constantly on, and competition for eyeballs has never been fiercer. Because of this, the cost of going unnoticed is a price that is too high to pay for any marketer. Therefore, accurately tracking how consumers receive marketing messages has become an imperative for many businesses.
How can Eye Gaze Tracking be used?
Eye gaze tracking technology can be used in numerous applications, ranging from entertainment to market research to assistive disability technologies and medical diagnoses and treatment. Here are a few examples:
Eye gaze tracking in market research
Many brands today use eye gaze tracking to assess customer attention to marketing messages, as well as to evaluate product performance, product and package design, and overall customer experience. When applied to in-store testing, eye tracking provides information about the ease and difficulty of in-store navigation, search behavior, and purchase choices. Also, when integrated with retail analytics, the technology can further help retailers make better choices, run businesses more efficiently, and deliver improved customer service.
Eye gaze tracking in the automotive industry
In the automotive industry, eye tracking is used to assess drivers’ visual attention – both with respect to navigation and dashboard layout. By using eye tracking glasses, researches can assess: Where do drivers look when they face obstacles on the street? How does talking on the phone affect driving behavior? How exactly does speeding compromise visual attention?
Eye gaze tracking for Human Computer Interaction (HCI)
HCI research is concerned with interaction methods which ease the use of computers or increase interaction efficiency. It looks at how computers are used and designed, and how this relates to their use by people. Eye tracking software is then used to measure visual attention and interaction with computer devices.
Eye gaze tracking in website testing
Eye tracking can also be used for website testing to assess the usability, giving insights into how websites are viewed and experienced. The same can be applied to mobile apps.
Eye gaze tracking metrics
Through eye tracking, it is possible to quantify visual attention as it monitors where, when, and what people look at objectively. Metrics include engagement (number of fixations, dwell time, % of time in an area), ease of processing (fixation duration), findability (time to first fixation and number of fixations prior to first fixation), order of processing (gaze path), comprehension (repeat fixations) and excitement (pupil dilation).
The bottom line is that eye gaze tracking, as an objective measure, indicates:
• Which elements attract immediate attention
• Which elements attract above-average attention
• Which elements are being ignored or overlooked
• In which order are elements noticed
Eye tracking software
Eye tracking software is a computer program that allows for the recording and analyzing of eye- and mouse-tracking data. Eye tracking software from Sightcorp for example, enable marketing professionals and researchers alike, to measure visual attention with high precision. Combined with Facial Recognition, valuable insights can be uncovered with higher levels of validity. For more information about our eye tracking software, please visit our eye tracking page.