Eye tracking, heat maps, and Pamela Anderson. What do these have in common?
Just to spice up your Friday evening, take a look at the picture below, for no more than 5 seconds. Remember the first spots you looked at. Then, scroll down and see what does the computer perceives as “hot spots”.
Now, let’s see where are the hot spots perceived by computer (the heat map of the picture) (thanks to the guys at www.feng-gui.com)
Kind of strange how a computer analyzes this, isn’t it?
Now, don’t be ashamed, where did you look at first?
What I am trying to say is that a computer is a machine, and even if it can detect skin and faces, smiles or eyes within pictures, it is not accurate (yet). However, the Feng GUI tool is doing a much better job at predicting the heat maps for websites
If you are designing your website and you want to take out a little bit of guessing from the design process by using the help of eye-tracking tool, you may want to take into consideration the following:
- human eyes (the direction they point to) and smiles (white teeth smile) play an important role in where your visitors will look on the page. A picture with eyes looking straight at users will attract most of the eye movements, while the same image but with the eyes of the “hero” pointing to a product will “heat up” the product image
- a website seen at 800×600 resolution will have a different heat map compared to the same website seen at 1024 x 768 (what’s above the fold). You need to design for the bigger chunk of your audience
- foveal and peripheral vision also affects the eye movement
- banner blindness also has some influence
- animation will change the hot spots