Testing design via eye-movement analysis

Date of publication: June 15, 1995

Author: Norbert Hammer


In toady's markets design can be regarded as a force for achieving market success. Strategically-oriented management in design and communication is required and an intelligent, improved product design. As we all know, design is a process of communication. Success in communication is only possible if the designer's cognitive model of the product fits the cognitive model of the user. Therefore designers and marketing experts should have a detailed knowledge of information processing of new designs by the users, i.e. evaluation within the design process is needed. How do people perceive new products? What attracts their attention? How do they recognise the species of the product and its functional and operating features? What do they consider to make the product look professional, powerful or safe? Can they immediately localise the relevant information on a screen design of a POI or POS system such as a ticket- machine? A suitable method for gaining knowledge on information processing by the users is eye- movement recording since a direct correlation between eye-movements and information processing is confirmed. By measuring the movements of the eye those parts of the product can be localised which attract attention, i.e. those which are processed for information. In combination with tasks aimed at performing a defined operation with an object, e.g. to push a specific button or to check a specific readout, those details are scanned which are informative for the task. The application of eye-movement recording to the field of industrial design may be helpful in giving information on the visual form which indicates the species of the product, its operation and its inherent qualities. This contribution will give examples and results of various experiments with eye-movement recording as a means of design evaluation.

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