The value of eye tracking in RTA

I have been writing a few post on Retrospective Think Aloud (RTA) in user research previously on this blog. RTA has proven to be especially useful in combination with eye tracking because having users watch their own eye movements while they were completing a task helps them remember what they did and describe their own behavior during the interview. Mike Bartels from EyeTracking Inc has written an article on the topic called “Using Eye Movement to Capture Pre-Cognitive Reactions”, the article can be downloaded from:

In his article Mike is pointing out the value of eye tracking in RTA; it helps the respondent remember what he/she did while completing the task. See quote below:

However, once the respondents were shown the video of their testing session, they were able to see the good and the bad. As they watched their eyes moving around the site during their first exposure, many recalled that they were immediately intrigued by the sleek new design. While observing their own visual interaction during tasks, they often noticed that, in hindsight, some of the things that they were asked to do were very intuitive.

Currently we are doing a small research project at Tobii where we intend to compare the outcomes of four different RTA methods: RTA in combination with: 1) gaze video replay; 2) gaze plot; 3) screen video (no gaze data) and; 4) no visual cue. We will analyze the number of user problems found, the number of words and the type of words used in the different retrospective interviews. I will reveal the findings on this blog when we have completed the research project (probably in August).


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