SEO Glossary: Eye Tracking



In a nutshell: What is eye tracking?

Eye tracking is also known as eye movement measurement. It is a method used to record and analyze the course of a person's gaze. This makes it ideal for optimizing interactive applications and products.

What is eye tracking?

Eye tracking uses test subjects whose gaze directions and eye movements are recorded. This is followed by an evaluation, which is presented in the form of a HEATMAP is created. Analysts can use it to find out in which areas the subjects' gaze is directed most frequently.


An external device is also required to carry out eye tracking. Eye movements and gaze directions are recorded using a type of camera. Eye tracking is now regularly used to carry out tests on interactive applications and products (websites and software).


The aim of eye tracking is to answer certain questions. For example, which areas a test person looks at frequently and which they tend to neglect. After the analysis with test subjects, optimized visual processing can now take place in which, for example, control elements are specifically adapted.


Eye tracking has also become indispensable in market research. Experts can use it to design special products and position them on sales shelves in such a way that they become eye-catchers.


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How does eye tracking work?

As already explained, eye tracking involves recording and analyzing eye movements. Such movements are divided into different types.


Below is a detailed explanation:


  • Fixations: These are specific areas and points of view that the viewer fixates on and observes more closely. The fixation can vary in length. A normal fixation usually lasts between 100 and 600 milliseconds.


  • Saccades: If the eye jumps from one fixation (or from one image area) to the next, this is referred to as a saccade. If the subject performs such a rapid movement, the eye does not record any further information. On average, saccades last 50 milliseconds.


  • Regression: If a respondent looks at a certain area and returns to an area that has already been looked at, this is called regression. Together with other fixations and saccades, this results in a pattern that is summarized and evaluated with other test subjects.


How are eye tracking data and information processed?

Once eye tracking has been successfully completed for several test subjects, the visual display is shown. A precise pattern can be recognized with this type of display.


The following display types are used:


  • Gaze plots: They can be either static or animated. Here you can see exactly what the sequence of individual image areas looks like and the duration is also recorded. Numbers are also used in static gazeplots.


  • Heat maps: Areas highlighted in color show where a respondent looked and how often they looked at them. Analysts can also see how long an area was viewed.


  • Opacity maps: In contrast to a heat map, an opacity map is displayed inversely. If the eye looks at an area, it is displayed transparently. Areas that are not viewed are darkened and areas that are not perceived at all are shown in black.



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Conclusion on the topic of eye tracking

Eye tracking is an excellent way for companies to better understand their customers. Interactive applications can be perfectly analyzed and optimized. In addition, the needs of individual target groups can be adapted to help them find their way around. The structure of decision-making processes also plays an important role here.


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