CN14 - Augmenting Usability with Eye Movement Process Metrics: Hands-On Training

Amy Alberts,Microsoft
Ed Cutrell, Microsoft Research
Andrew Duchowski, Clemson University

Eye movement metrics provide powerful evidence of why usability performance measures (e.g., speed/accuracy) came out the way they did. This helps pinpoint visual design features that hinder good performance. This course will provide hands-on training with state-of-the-art eye-tracking equipment (provided by Tobii) and lead you through four simulation examples we have created expressly for this course. The methodology you will learn from these practical examples will provide guidance for your own future studies. Origins: This course will be developed for the first time for CHI 2008, however, it draws on several previous sources rooted in research, practice, and pedagogy. Specifically, course origins can be traced back to usability eye-tracking training taught at Microsoft, eye-tracking Web research performed at Microsoft Research, and eye-tracking methodology taught at Clemson University (the basis for a half-day course taught at SIGGRAPH 2000).


  • A (very) brief review of human vision and visual attention (summarizing Pelzís CHI 2005 tutorial)
  • Another (very) brief review of current technology
  • Study preparation
    Formulating a hypothesis and why this is helpful
    Selecting task(s) and coming up with a study design
    Deciding what measures to collect (and which are more important than others)
    Comparing results
  • Practical hands-on examples
    Improving visual search over a static image
    Testing the visibility of moving target in a video presentation
    Facilitating feature accessibility on a simple web page
    Evaluating the usability of simple software application designs

The course is intended for researchers and practitioners who may be familiar with (e.g., have heard of) eye tracking, and who would like to bolster the validity and credibility of their research through hands-on training with modern equipment. The course will not spend a great deal of time on underlying theories of human vision, eye movements, eye movement analysis, experimental design, or statistics but will focus on practical usage.

Lecture, demonstration, discussion, with 1/2 of the course devoted to hands-on exercises built on simulated examples. The course will feature a classroom of at least 10 Tobii eye trackers, permitting 20-30 participants in small groups at each station. (More Tobiis will be provided if demand warrants it.)

Instructor Background:
Amy Alberts is a User Experience Researcher at Microsoft for the Windows Mobile User Experience Group. She has been at Microsoft since 2000, working as a User Researcher for, Office 2007, and Windows Mobile. Amy has specialized in eye tracking and card sorting research techniques, while gaining expertise in internet search, document collaboration, and mobile productivity user scenarios. Before coming to Microsoft, Amy studied Applied Cognitive Psychology/Psychophysics and conducted ground-breaking research in the field eye movement measures of human memory. Ed Cutrell is a research scientist at Microsoft Research where he has worked since 2000 in the Adaptive Systems Interaction Focus group. His current research focuses on user interfaces for information management, search and retrieval and on a variety of human input technologies (ranging from novel pen interfaces to brain-computer interaction). Trained in cognitive neuroscience, Ed has worked with various kinds of eye-tracking technologies since 1996 in studies of attention and perception. In CHI 2007 he presented some work using eye-tracking techniques to study the effect of interface manipulations in Web search. Andrew Duchowski, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Clemson, has been active in eye-tracking research for over a decade. He has taught an eye-tracking methodology class since 1999 and is author of the accompanying Eye Tracking Methodology monograph used in the class (2nd ed., Springer-Verlag, 2007). The text was based on notes from a SIGGRAPH 2000 half-day course co-taught with Roel Vertegaal. Dr. Duchowski is co-founder of ACMís Eye Tracking Research & Applications (ETRA) biennial symposium. He has recently delivered keynote addresses at the Tobii user meeting (Frankfurt, Germany, April 2007) and the Communication by Gaze Interaction (COGAIN) conference (Leicester, UK, September 2007).