New eye tracking competition and stipend: The EyeTrackAwards

tobii_logotype_eyetrackawards_small_newToday Tobii launched an interesting new competition, the annual EyeTrackAwards. The award recognizes research and projects that have generated new knowledge and insights by using eye tracking technology. The winner of the EyeTrackAwards will receive a 5 000 EUR prize.

Another part of the EyeTrackAwards is a stipend that supports unique and outstanding academic research projects with free eye tracking equipment from Tobii.

Read more about the competition and the stipend on


New white paper on eye tracking and Tobii eye trackers


Yesterday Tobii released a new white paper on eye tracking and eye tracking technology. The aim of the paper is to give a brief introduction to the human visual system, and to explain how eye movements are recorded and processed by Tobii Eye Trackers. Some basic concepts and issues related to remote eye tracking and eye movement data interpretation are also briefly discussed.

It is a good document for beginners to read to gain more knowledge on eye movements and eye tracking, but also experienced eye tracking users can find the paper interesting as it explains more about how Tobii’s technology works.

  • The paper can be read and downloaded HERE.

Why you need eye tracking in web usability studies

Rob Stevens from Think Eyetracking and Bunnyfoot has now released a summary on YouTube from his talk on why you need eye tracking in web usability studies. The videos were recorded during the The Great Eye Tracking Debate in May 2009 (read summary from the event  HERE). In the clip Rob mainly talks about the PEEP method, or retrospective think aloud (RTA) in combination with eye tracking, as he argues that the concurrent think aloud (CTA) method has flaws as a lot of processes are subconscious when performing a task for example on a web page. I have previously written about this method here on my blog.

Rob’s main arguments for using eye tracking in web usability studies is that eye tracking enables:

1. Better user tests by using retrospective think aloud instead of concurrent think aloud

2. Optimize designs by doing mass user testing (quantitative eye tracking tests)

3. Helps non specialist stake holder engage with usability – and take actions based on the usability findings

Watch the two YouTube clips below:

Kara Pernice’s speech from the Great Eye Tracking Debate has now been made available on YouTube. Watch it below:


EyeTrackConf on linguistics and psychology January 25-26

We have some very interesting speakers lined for the first Tobii EyeTrackConf in Copenhagen on January 25-26 2010. This conference is focusing on eye tracking related research in psychology and linguistics. Please have a look at the website and sign up here. See you in Copenhagen


Collection of eye tracking research cases

A good way to get a glimpse of what is possible to do with eye tracking is to read the different customer cases available on the Tobii website. I’ve collected all the PDFs below, just click on the text to download a document.

Bing vs. Google study by User Centric

Banner performance study by MarketWatch

Beer can design study by JMR

Redesigned packaging study by Strategir

Using eye tracking to optimize the ‘attention path’ of magazine advertisements

Analyzing TV brand exposure by Havas

Eye tracking study on chimpanzees by Kyoto uni

UX improvement of website

Banner optimization study by RealEyes

Coffee package design study by Packaging arena

Print advertising study by Rogil

Child language learning study by Rochester uni

Developmental psychology study by Uppsala uni

Eye tracking as a tool in package and shelf testing


Using E-prime and Tobii Studio in the same experiment

E-prime is a software package from PST used for different types of behavioral and psychological experiments, for example reaction time experiments. With a separate plug-in (E-prime extensions for Tobii) it possible to also include eye tracking in an E-prime experiment.

One very frequent question I get is how to integrate eye tracking data in an E-prime experiment and if it is possible to collect data in both Tobii Studio and E-prime in the same experiment. After the release of Tobii Studio 2.0 a few weeks back it is now possible to automatically create scenes in Tobii Studio based on event sent from E-prime, this makes it much easier and quicker to use both programs in the same experiment.

Last week I made a very quick introduction video on how to use Tobii Studio and E-prime to collect eye movement data from a Tobii eye tracker in the same experiment. You can watch the YouTube video below. The E-prime experiment used in this video is a demo experiment available for download from here:


New guide on how to use Retrospective Think Aloud with eye tracking in usability research

rta_guidelinesWe have just completed a short guide on how to use Retrospective Think Aloud with eye tracking in usability research which is aimed at usability researchers that want to try out this method. The guide covers the following topics:

  • What is Retrospective Think Aloud and Why is it Suitable for Eye Tracking Studies?
  • What Should I Consider When Designing My Eye Tracking Usability Study?
  • How Do I Select the Participants?
  • How Do I Create Tasks?
  • How Do I Design The Study So I Get the Kind of Data I Want?
  • How Can I Collect The Participants Thoughts and Opinions?
  • Pre- and Posttest Questions
  • Interview Protocol
  • How Can I Make Sure That the Testing Will Run According To Plan?
  • What Else Should I Consider When Designing the Study?
  • What Special Considerations Do I Need to Have When Designing a Cued RTA Study?
  • When Should the Retrospective Session be Positioned Within the Test?
  • Which Cue Should Be Used?
  • Using a Gaze Plot as a Cue in an RTA Interview
  • Eye Gaze Video as a Cue
  • Other Cues
  • How Can a RTA Session be Recorded?
  • What Should I Do Once the Testing Is Completed?
  • How Can the Data Collected be Used?
  • How Can the Findings be Presented?
  • Recommended reading

You can download the guide here as a PDF document:
Guidelines for Using the Retrospective Think Aloud Protocol with Eye Tracking


New whitepaper: Retrospective Think Aloud and Eye Tracking

rta_whitepaperWe are finally releasing the white paper explaining the results from a small research project we did this summer at Tobii where we compared the value of using Retrospective Think Aloud (RTA) in web usability research. I have previously posted the results from the study here on my blog. The main finding was that using eye tracking results as a cue during the post task interview stimulated users to talk much more and produce much more interesting comments.


Retrospective Think Aloud and Eye Tracking – Comparing the value of different cues when using the retrospective think aloud method in web usability testing

Research has shown that incorporating eye tracking in usability research can provide certain benefits compared with traditional usability testing. There are various methodologies available when conducting research using eye trackers. This paper presents the results of a study aimed to compare the outcomes from four different retrospective think aloud (RTA) methods in a web usability study: an un-cued RTA, a video cued RTA, a gaze plot cued RTA, and a gaze video cued RTA. Results indicate that using any kind of cue produces more words, comments and allows participants to identify more usability issues compared with not using any cues at all. The findings also suggest that using a gaze plot or gaze video cue stimulates participants to produce the highest number of words and comments, and mention more usability problems.

Download the paper as a PDF from here:
Retrospective Think Aloud and Eye Tracking whitepaper


New study: Retrospective Think Aloud and Eye Tracking

During the summer we have conducted a study at Tobii Technology aimed to compare the outcomes from four different retrospective think aloud (RTA) methods in a web usability study: a non cued RTA, a screen video cued RTA, a gaze plot cued RTA, and a gaze video cued RTA. Twenty-four participants were used in the study, six participants in every RTA condition included.


The Tobii T120 remote eye-tracker along with the Tobii Studio 2 (Enterprise version) software was used to record and replay participants’ eye movements as well as for recording the RTA interview.  The website used in this test was On the web site users can sign up for a paid subscription and then download a software client which provides legal streaming of music. Participants in the test were given one task to complete on the web site: Sign up for a monthly subscription with Spotify and then download the Spotify software.

So what did we find out?

When comparing the interview word counts for the four different RTA methods we found statistically significant differences between the groups.


The ‘no cue’ condition produced significantly fewer words than the ‘Gaze Plot Cue’ and the ‘Gaze Video Cue’. Although no other groups revealed significant differences, there is a trend towards the ‘gaze video cue’ and ‘gaze plot cue’ producing more words than a regular ‘video cue’ and ‘no cue’ as can be seen in the chart.

When comparing the number of usability comments and usability problems mentioned in the different groups the results indicated a trend towards the ‘gaze plot’ cued and ‘gaze video’ cued groups identifying the highest number of unique usability problems, with the ‘no cue’ condition producing the least. The different cues appeared to stimulate the participants in different ways when commenting on their behavior. The two video conditions stimulated the participants to produce considerably more ‘manipulative’ comments than when a static gaze plot or no cue was used.


The conclusions were that using any cue will stimulate participants to produce a higher number of words and comments as well as helping participants identifying more usability problems. Using eye movements as cue, by presenting gaze plots or gaze videos to the participants, can stimulate the participants even more. The method that produced the highest quantity of interview data, in number of comments and number of words, was the gaze video cued RTA method, followed by the gaze plot cued RTA method. Our study clearly demonstrated that using any kind of cue is significantly better than using no cue at all. Additionally, by using gaze plots or gaze videos as cues, participants provided more feedback than when only using a screen video as cue. Another interesting conclusion is that the gaze plot cued method proved to perform almost as well as the gaze video cued method, being especially good at producing visual and cognitive comments and at the same time identifying the same amount of usability problems as the gaze video cued method.

The results from our study will be presented more in depth in a whitepaper to be published on soon. I will also post a link here on my blog when the paper is available.

There is also a new short YouTube video from Tobii describing RTA and the value of eye tracking. Watch it below:


10 minutes on how to use Tobii Studio

I just finished a new 10 minute walkthrough on how to use the Tobii Studio eye tracking software. You can watch the flash video  by clicking HERE.

I have also posted the walkthrough as a video here on my blog. Watch it here below (right-click to watch in full screen):

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