Eyetracking, or what do we pay attention to?
In fact, we read various texts every day, placed on websites or in traditional, paper newspapers or books. However, we focus our attention in particular on selected parts of such texts. Eyetracking is a type of examination that allows you to check what we focus our eyes on. It turns out that the conclusions that can be drawn from eye movement research find great application in marketing and advertising.
Eyetracking - what we look at when we read the text
Eyetracking, also called eye-tracking in Polish, consists in tracking the movement of the eyes of the examined person. The first experiences related to eye tracking appeared in the nineteenth century, but for over a hundred years the methods of carrying them out have evolved considerably. Currently, three methods of observation are most often used:
- with the help of special covers for the eyeballs,
- through non-invasive and non-contact measurements of knob movement,
- using sensitive electrodes placed around the eye.
Researchers check which parts of the text we look at most often and what draws our attention. The conclusions bring a lot of necessary information not only to marketers, but also to psychologists and IT specialists. It turns out that only 16% of people read texts from beginning to end, word for word. The vast majority of text simply "scans".
Eyetracking and heat maps
The result of an eye tracking test is often written in the form of the so-called infrared heat map. This is the most common form of eye tracking research results recording. The red spots on the heat map mark the places we have looked at the longest and most intensively. Of course, heat maps do not only apply to texts, but also to images, spaces or even other people.
The results are clear - most often in the text we focus our attention on:
- photos and pictures,
- short texts or headings in large font format,
- the first words of the text,
- transparent texts, with a large number of so-called lights.
Although the readers' eyesight is often focused on the graphics in the text, it does not mean that they are always well received by them. First of all, the graphic element placed in the text must refer thematically to the content of the text - otherwise it may be read by the reader as an obstacle. Another condition must be the legibility and high quality of the images, because those that are not very clear become annoying for the viewer.
Reading in the letter "F"
In the literature dealing with eyetracking, you can come across the concept of "F pattern". It refers to the phrases in the text that attract our greatest attention. Readers get the most information from the first lines of the text, and then focus on the left edge of the text. On the heat map, it is visible in the form of an intense spot similar in shape to the letter F.
Eyetracking, mousetracking and clicktracking
Eyetracking inspired researchers to conduct further tests to check what we focus on when browsing the web. Therefore, mousetracking and clicktracking research appeared.
Mousetracking is tracking the movement of the cursor on a website. There are many opinions about the similarity of the results obtained in eye tracking and mousetracking research, and lower costs are indicated as the advantage of the latter. The degree of correlation of the results obtained with these two types of research is even 88%. Cursor movements and eyesight are highly interconnected - eyesight often follows the cursor, especially while reading. If we take any action on the page, then the cursor follows the sight. The main difference is the pace - cursor shifts are much shorter than eye shifts.
Clicktracking tracks the clicks we have made on the website. It is supposed to show what final moves we make on the page - we "scanned" it with our eyes and went around it with the cursor. Thanks to this, we know which elements are clicked the most often and in which sectors of the page they are located. The results are used, inter alia, when measuring the effectiveness of ads on specific pages.
The results of eye tracking, mousetracking and clicktracking research help to improve the effectiveness of advertisements and the readability of texts. Knowing what we pay attention to when browsing the press or website is essential for all advertising specialists and copywriters. It allows you to better reach the customer and - literally - catch his eye.