With tools like analytics and mouse mappers available, why is it necessary to have a service like this?
Analytics tools will tell you where people didn’t click, but they won’t answer *why* they didn’t click there. Is it because your copy isn’t compelling enough, or because the area didn’t jump out enough to get any attention?
Mouse mappers may claim to provide these answers, but many people don’t hover over links without clicking. I know I don’t move my mouse until I’m going to click on something specific.
Eye tracking, on the other hand, brings you much closer to the mind of your users. It allows you to see how they perceived your page rather than just how they interacted with it. This leads to a better understanding of their pain points, which leads to a better site design.
Why do you think it is important to know what your users are looking at?
Eye tracking will help make an important distinction: did users even look at links they decided not to click on? No other service can provide this information, and our service in particular is the most economical way to answer this question.
A basic example is ad placement. If your ads have poor click rates, it’s most likely because of two things: either people don’t care about the ad or people aren’t noticing it. By just measuring click-through you can’t tell which of these is the problem. Eye tracking will tell you where the issue is, and GazeHawk makes it economical enough to be viable for these questions.
If a site designer used the Gutenberg rule to design a site, wouldn’t that be enough?
The Gutenberg rule is a great start to designing a page, but it’s pretty vague and doesn’t take into account a lot of things. How a user browses is informed by a lot of factors and it’s hard to generate rules that universally apply to sites.
Do flashing banners and moving images still work?
Users, especially younger users, are becoming very immune to advertising, or even things that look like advertising. Designers and website developers need to come up with more innovative ways to convey brand messages than standard ad blocks.
Did you use your service on your own site and what important element did you think you had right, but found you needed to change?
I’m embarrassed to say we did not eye track our own site yet. We launched as soon as we finished testing our product, and the response has been so overwhelming we haven’t had much time to improve our design.
How does heat mapping make the interaction more natural, when doing UI testing?
Right now heat mapping solutions help you answer questions of the form “did the user look at X” along with some metrics about when, how long, and in what order. One of our challenges is turning this into actionable data.
It’s something we haven’t solved fully yet but we have a lot of exciting plans on how to approach this.
What are the steps that you undertake in your testing procedure
*note there was an issue with an add feature, however since the filming of the screencast this has been fixed!
We try to have as little involvement as possible. When we have a new test we email some of our testers. They login and run through a quick calibration routing (we have the follow a dot as is moves around the screen).
Then we show them some text provided to give them context (for example: “Browse this site as if you wandered onto it from Google”) and then the page itself. They click anywhere to tell us they are done browsing, and then we get their feedback on the page.
Do you have an example of testing a site, suggesting and seeing the change, and then the response from users?
While we’ve run a good number of studies so far, we’ve only been public for about 2 weeks( at the time of this interview), so we haven’t had any of our recommendations implemented yet.
One interesting example of results is a site that had little icons for each user in a grid in the middle of the page (similar to Facebook or Twitter). You would think given the density of data in that grid that it would attract attention, but the testers recognized it as just a gird of photos and promptly ignored it.
This shows that sometimes you need more than a lot of colors to snag users: we’re getting so good at absorbing information and determining it’s utility, even through our peripheral vision, that designers need to think much harder about how the end users are going to perceive the content compared to just a few years ago.
What 3 design tips would you give our students who planning to build their sites?
- Test your design. You spend every day analyzing designs and pulling out element, so you’re really the worst person to evaluate a design from a user’s perspective. The only way around this is to put it in front of actual users and see how they react to it. Accept that you’ll never be objective.
- Keep flow in mind. Our minds like being told what to do next. Carefully crafting a page to flow properly has huge value in user retention. Too much content thrown everywhere confuses the user and makes them a lot more likely to abandon the page.
- Calls to action are key. Similar to #2, users want to know what to do next. If they finish reading a page and don’t have a clear next step, they’re more likely to just leave. Having a big “click me” button, while a bit tacky if not done well, is quite effective at gaining attention and improving conversions.
Thank you Brian for taking the time to talk to us about your fantastic service and we hope that many people will utilise this service in the near future.