Eye-tracking firm Tobii is out Wednesday with its first web-based eye-tracker, a lightweight product that is designed for fast user experience testing.
Called the Tobii Pro Sprint, it offers a strip-shaped USB-linked camera that sits under a user’s computer screen, plus an extension for the Google Chrome browser. (It’s currently only for Mac, although the company said a PC version is coming.) Here’s the camera at the base of the screen:
How it is used. The participant views whatever is being tested on the screen, such as a web site. The camera tracks the user’s eyes and therefore determines where she is looking and for how long.
The same screen, with an overlay depicting the gaze movement as hot spots, is shared on the test moderator’s screen, wherever that might be. It can also be shared with up to two other computers, and the entire session can be recorded.
An audio chat can be set up so the participant can “think aloud” as she peruses the site or whatever, and the moderator can voice-chat back. There is also a text chat so the moderator and the up-to-two observers can communicate “backstage.”
The big picture. Tobii’s previous products were either lab-based, or required a download to a desktop, and were focused on researchers. This new tool, Marketing Manager Joey Goldberg told me, is intended for UX professionals who need to work quickly and see the usability results immediately, not after analysis of reams of data.
Typical use cases include testing web sites for ease of shopping, finding products, using online banking or testing navigation structure. Mouse clicks alone can tell a participant’s actions, Tobii points out, but not the path or thought process that the user traveled to get there.
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