Eyetracking Metrics for Usability Studies

Eyetracking Metrics for Usability Studies

Eyetracking has been a heavily debated subject within the field of User Experience Design and in particular within the Usability community.  Some argue that eye fixations don’t necessarily equal attention or understanding, and question whether eyetracking should be used to support traditional usability findings.  However, the other side argues that when eye tracking data is used in conjuction with traditional usability techniques, it can provide deep insight into where participants look during a task which can help us determine why usability issues are present within an interface.

If you’re interested in reading more about the various arguments regarding eye tracking’s use in usability studies, take a look at these great articles:
Assuming you’ve bought into the value that eyetracking can bring to usability studies, the rest of this post will explore the specific eyetracking metrics you can use to best support usability findings.

UX designers must understand the perspectives that come from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences

“At its best, user experience design involves more than form and content and behavior, crafted in a meaningful context that leaves an impact over time. The highest aspirations of our profession will only be achieved when leadership and excellence are joined. Our profession as a whole must demonstrate the understanding and perspectives that can only come from the intertwingling of many different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences.” – Will Evans

Read more in Will’s article “It’s Time to Start a Revolution…”

 

Bad design is not the “enemy.” The real enemy is great design.

“We may think that bad design is the ‘enemy’ and that our holy grail is to stomp it out. But displacing poor design should be relatively easy for a trained professional. No, the real enemy is great design. Why? Because great design takes hold, gets traction, and takes on its own inertia—which makes it hard to replace. And replace it we must: Everything reaches its past-due date. Design is no different.” – Bill Buxton

Read more in Bill’s Business Week article “The Problem with Great Ideas.”

How I Discovered User Experience Design and Why I’m Still Here

How I Discovered User Experience Design and Why I’m Still Here

User Experience is a relatively new field.  I’d be hard pressed to find someone who grew up saying “I want to be a User Experience Designer!”  Everyone has their own stories about how they first got into UX, and they’re always fascinating to hear. It seems as though most people in this field happen upon it as an evolution of another career, through a library science, psychology, design, or other UX-related degree, or out of serendipitous discovery.  My story is a mix of the latter two.

I’ll tell my story as a way of helping you remember your reasons for getting into this field and why you stay in it despite its challenges.

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Designers already live in the future

“Designers already live in the future. Through our work, we’re pulling the present up to us.” – Julian Bleecker

Peter Merholz noted in his Adaptive Path blog post that Julian said this quote when asked about the future and about design.

It is our responsibility to to have an ironclad rationale to support our design decisions

“We have to arm ourselves with data, research, design patterns, and a clear understanding of our users and our content so our decisions are not made out of fear but out of real, actionable information.  Although our clients may not have articulated reasons for why they want what they want, it is our responsibility to to have an ironclad rationale to support our design decisions.” – Debra Levin Gelman

This quote is from Debra’s article “The Very Narrow Bridge.”

Thanks to @aaroni268 for pointing to this article and quote!