What is Gaze Plot Eye Tracking?
Gaze plot eye tracking is a research method that shows how people respond to visual marketing messages and visual elements within physical environments by measuring eye movements and gaze patterns. It is data visualization that can communicate important aspects of visual behavior clearly and with great accuracy.
The difference between gaze plots and heat maps
A gaze plot is a map which shows gaze fixations on a webpage, print advertisement, or video and in which order they occur. A gaze plot follows the user’s eye path and is the result of an eye tracking study.
The main function of the gaze plot is to reveal information about the time sequence of looking or where and when a person looks at an item. Time spent looking, most commonly expressed as fixation duration, is shown by the diameter of the fixation circles. The longer the look, the larger the circle.
A heat map is a graphical representation of how looking is distributed over the stimulus. Heat maps are generally used by online marketers to show what percentage of people interacted with different parts of a web page. This is usually done using software such as eye tracking, click tracking, mouse tracking, etc. Unlike gaze plot, there is no information about the order of looking in a static heat map.
Neither of the two tracking methods are the focus on individual fixations. Rather, heat maps are a visualization that can effectively reveal the focus of visual attention for dozens or even hundreds of participants at a time. Warm colors indicate areas where participants either fixated for extended durations or on multiple occasions. Heat map visualizations can incorporate sequential order, time to first fixation and other metrics.
The benefits of using Gaze Plot Eye Tracking
If speed of analysis and getting information about your website or digital applications is your top priority, then gaze plot eye tracking is a research tool to consider. Ultimately, it is a great tool for adding hard science and credibility to usability tests, as it can strengthen your design research efforts.
- Reduce risk of deploying a design with poor usability
- Gain insight into how your design is performing
- Analyze how customer’s mind works (with your design)
- Provides empirical measurement
- Pinpoints weak or distracting areas
- Optimize conversion and user adoption/engagement
In contrast to online solutions that normally use mouse cursor movements and click data as proxies for eye movement, eye gaze tracking provides real-time feedback and analysis of cognitive processes.