The two day Tobii User Meeting in Frankfurt was fantastic. We were hoping it would be special – and can now confirm it was. 60 pioneers of eye tracking for usability studies, sharing stories and ideas over 2 days and much beer.
I’ve got many pages of notes, which I plan to place on here over the next few weeks.
The first thing I’d like to mention in this quick review is that Tobii is a great company with a world class team. It was great to place faces next to email adresses and confirm that they only seem to employ great people. Anne and the team did a first class job with the event and the hospitality was second to none.
The audience had a good blend of academia and commercial usability people. The latter was very strong in their pressence and passion. Our main competitors in the UK had all fielded a person to attend – so we enjoyed putting faces next to the names and learning a little more about the personalities behind the brands.
A few highlights, without too many spoilers:
- There was much debate about the correct use of ‘Current Think Aloud’ and ‘Retrospective Think Aloud’ protocols in illiciting feedback from users in testing with eye tracking equipment.
- The validity of a study showing ‘F’ pattern findings reported by a famous usability group was questioned by the majority of the attendees. Throughout the 2 days, there were many heckles of ‘I can see an F’ when various heatmaps were presented.
- The infamous ‘golden triangle’ found by a different company, also received similar attention.
- There was no agreement on a minimum sample size when conducting usability tests with eye tracking.
- Testing methodologies need be fluid to match project and customer needs.
- The software used for usability testing has a long way to go.
- The new Tobii Studio Software – looks very good and very useful.
- There is no alternative to a skilled usability practioner when testing.
One of the more memorable moments was watching a video of a Lemur with a head mounted eye tracking unit. Whilst Tobii don’t build head mounted units, it was a fun thing to watch. Study details here and some video here – we had the pleasure of watching live tracking footage. Lemurs like to watch tails and heads… aparently!
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