We spend more and more time using our mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones to access web pages and for apps and games. From a design and usability and user experience perspective, it is worth keeping in mind that mobile devices are not the same as computers. We use them in quite different ways; the interaction is different (usually touch screen instead of keyboard and mouse), the screen and the device is smaller and handheld, and the general usage is different – we use them more often and in shorter sessions. It also seems like user have higher expectations on a good user experience for mobile apps, which was revealed for example in a study by Harris Interactive on behalf of Effective UI from 2010: 73% of mobile app users agree that they expect a company’s mobile app to be easier to use than its website. All in all this increases the need to perform user test on content designed for, and used on mobile devices. However, conducting usability test on mobile devices is slightly more challenging than conducting usability tests on a computer. These challenges are mainly practical and technical, but also methodological.
Tobii just launched a new solution for user testing of mobile devices and tablets: Tobii Mobile Device Stand for X2. This is a follow up to the existing mobile device stand for Tobii X60/X120 Eye Trackers. The new mobile device stand in only compatible with the new small Tobii X2 Eye Trackers, X2-30 and X2-60 Compact Editions. The major improvement is that due to the small sized eye tracker it is no longer necessary to place the eye tracker up-side-down like in the old solution; this increases the ease of use for the solution and also makes eye tracking more robust and accurate.
The stand includes everything needed to start testing content on mobile devices; a stand where they mobile can be attached and rotated, a robust scene camera holder with an HD scene camera that records the screen of the mobile device, a calibration plate used when calibrating the participant and various other components. Since the eye tracker tracks anything that is placed on the stand and the scene camera records the object – the stand can also be used to test pretty much anything; even books, brochures and papers as long as they fit on the stand (up to 31.9 cm (12.6”) in height). In the Tobii Studio software the eye tracking data is automatically overlaid on top of the scene camera video and thus you are able to use all the analysis tools available.
I have tried the new solution a few times and it is easy to use and can be assembled quickly. It is possible use the stand in eight different configurations, but usually one configuration works for most studies and setups. Thus to use it you only need to assemble the stand, connect the eye tracker to the Tobii Studio computer and put in a few values in the Tobii X-config tool. It is also straight forward to use it during a recording and the usage is pretty much the same as when conducting an eye tracking test on a screen; the main different is that the calibration procedure is manual – you have to ask the test participant to look at five dots on the calibration plate.
Learn more about how to perform user tests on mobile devices
For advice on how to conduct usability studies in general, and with eye tracking, on mobile devices you can read the Tobii white paper: Using the Tobii Mobile Device Stand in Usability Testing on Mobile Devices. Please keep in mind that is was written for the previous mobile device stand and many of the technical limitations mentioned are no longer valid. The paper gives however a good introduction to usability testing and eye tracking on mobile devices and provides a set of 44 practical methodological guidelines. It covers all important steps involved in the planning, the actual testing, as well as the analyzing of the collected eye tracking data. You can download the paper here as PDF.
To learn more about the Tobii Mobile Device Testing Solution you can watch one of the two videos below, one introducing the solution and a longer training video explaining how to assemble and use the Mobile Device Stand for X2, or visit the Tobii website http://www.tobii.com/mobile-testing
Introducing: Mobile Device Testing Solution for Tobii X2 Eye Trackers:
How to assemble and use the Mobile Device Stand for Tobii X2 Eye Trackers: