Friday, November 24, 2006

Eye-Tracking Studies at Google

Questioning the veracity of eye-tracking studies ...

"How much can eye-tracking studies tell us about the ways that people read and react to search engine results pages? What is a search engine like Google doing when it comes to using eye-tracking?

I have to confess that I’m skeptical when I read about some of the studies that describe a golden triangle of Google and show nice heat maps which attempt to indicate how people view search results. Why the skepticism?

... My understanding of the “golden triangle of Google” reseach I linked to above is limited to what I’ve seen about it described at a couple of Search Engine Strategies sessions, and in a few blog posts. Yet I’m left wondering why there’s only one heat map talked about and shown to describe the way people look at search results. And, there’s no insight to what people are actually doing and feeling when that golden triangle is shown.

Even on a simple level, shouldn’t the way someone looks at search results pages be different if the type of search was for different purposes? Say, for instance, a navigational search as opposed to an informational one, or a transactional one? See Andrei Broder’s A taxonomy of web search (pdf) for more on the differences between those types of searches.

So, how is Google attempting to use eye-tracking to understand how people look at their pages?"    (Continued via SEO by the SEA)    [Usability Resources]

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