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Neuromarketing Usability eye tracking

Eye Tracking for websites: this is how you make your site more user-friendly and persuasive

By Tom van Bommel
Persuasion Artist

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Eye Tracking enables you to follow the eyes of your customer. You can see exactly where, for how long and in what sequence people interact with your website. This makes Eye tracking a popular tool to discover usability issues and fruitful opportunities to improve conversion.

Which sections of your website grab the attention? Which are being ignored? Are your visitors viewing your website in the manner that you anticipated? Or are they perhaps hindered on their path to conversion?

Eye Tracking yields deeper insight in the subconscious behaviors of your customers.

Five commonly seen patterns in Eye Tracking for websites

Eye Tracking is used more and more to increase the persuasiveness and usability of websites. Some viewing patterns tend to appear over and over when conducting Eye Tracking research.

These five patterns are often found on websites:

  1. Empty spaces grab the attention of your visitor. It has an almost magnetizing effect. Are certain pieces of content not getting the right amount of attention? A little extra white space might be the answer…
  2. It’s likely your visitors’ eyes won’t even go below the fold 80% percent of the time. The fold is the area of a page that is directly visible without having to scroll. Make sure you don’t hide the most important content beneath the fold.
  3. Your visitors spend about 69% of their viewing time on the left side of a page. Use this side to feature the most compelling content.
  4. People view content in either an F- shaped or E-shaped pattern. This means they look horizontally first, followed by a vertical gaze and – in the case of an E- shaped pattern – one final horizontal gaze eye swipe.
  5. Logo’s get the most views and are best remembered when they are located on the upper left section of the screen.

When should I conduct Eye Tracking research for my website?

Typical gaze patterns such as the ones above only bring you so far. Every website has it’s very own unique strengths and flaws. but a significant portion of your website is unique content that won’t easily be replaced by best practices.

In what sequence do visitors view specific content elements? Are people to easily find the information they want? Is the most persuasive content prominently located?

When thinking about these questions, the necessity of researching your own website becomes all the more apparent. You can conduct research using a remote Eye Tracker, which you place nearby a screen, laptop or tablet to accurately record the viewing patterns on your visitors screen.

Eye Tracking research helps you uncover loads of valuable interesting data, such as heat maps and AOI metrics of your website. However, what do these metrics mean?

Heatmap- Literally highlights the hotspots of your website pages, in which the viewing patterns of the respondents are aggregated together. This enables you to see precisely which elements of your website capture the most attention and which elements people ignore.

Gaze replay- Shows individual video footage of the complete viewing path for each visitor. These are valuable to establish the sequence in which visitors engage with your content.

Time until first fixation- The average time before a site-element is seen. For important information and actionable content, a short duration is favorable. A lagging TTUF signals a window of opportunity to capture more attention by boosting visual contrast or a rearranging content.

Duration of the first fixation- Average time of a visitor that is being spent when they encounter an individual site element for the first time. Content that is deemed more relevant will capture attention for longer periods of time.

Duration of the total fixation- Summed total gaze duration. This is a good measure for conscious and motivated attention.

Pupil size- The more advanced Eye Tracking systems can even register changes in pupil size. This can be an indicator both of deep effortful thinking or intense emotion (the stronger the experienced emotion, the larger the pupils).

What number of respondents do I need?

The amount of participant needed for decent Eye Tracking research depends on your research question.

When you’re focusing on discovering qualitative insights regarding the strengths and weaknesses of online usability, a group of seven respondents often suffices. The reasoning behind this is pragmatic; extra respondents simply do not yield additional insights.

When you want to test different variations of the same website (for example, two versions of the homepage), you’ll need significantly more respondents to establish a valid difference. In these research scenarios, a minimum of 15-20 participants per test condition is necessary.

Combine EEG, GSR and Emotion Recognition

Eye Tracking tells you how, where and in which sequence visitors look at your website. However, it does not answer the question of how different page and site-elements resonate emotionally within your visitor’s mind. In some situations, you might also want to know if certain content is not only looked at, but perceived as positive, comprehensible and persuasive.

Because of this, many neuromarketing studies combine Eye Tracking with other Biometrics.

EEG- EEG allows you to measure brain activity in a comfortable manner. Among other things, EEG reveals which content is interesting and personally relevant. At the other end of the spectrum, brain waves signal which elements are confusing or complicated for your customers. It is also possible to review prefrontal brain activity and use this to interpret whether your customer is experiencing positive or negative emotions. To sum up: EEG sheds light on where your website usability can be more user-friendly, as well as on which current strengths you can build to further boost your online conversion.

GSR- GSR is a biometric used to measure the emotional intensity through skin conduction. It serves as an add-on to EEG and enriches the online experience data.

Emotion Recognition- By combining HD cameras with smart software, you can register facial emotions of your customers in real-time during the Eye Tracking. For example, subtle frown reactions signal something on the page is incomprehensible or does not contain the content the visitor was looking for.

Eye Tracking analysis for your website

ST&T Research owns state of the art Eye Tracking equipment to measure the viewing patterns of your visitor. We conduct both stand-alone Eye Tracking research, as well as a combined neuromarketing studies utilizing Eye Tracking in conjunction with biometrics such as EEG, GSR and Emotion Recognition for a more thorough story of your user experience.

Want to vastly improve the usability and persuasiveness of your website using Eye Tracking? Contact us at ST&T research – or have a look at our Eye Tracking page to learn more about Eye Tracking insights.

Neuromarketing Usability eye tracking