Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this work through the O’Reilly Blogger Review Program.
About me: I use eye tracking as a research method in conjunction with neuroscience and psychology experiments.
Bottom line: Gives eye tracking novices a decent place to start, but lots of redundancy and surprisingly little concrete advice. I’d give it a pass.
Bergstrom and Schall’s book comprises a series of contributed chapters from UX researchers covering basic concepts, typical applications (web forms, social media, mobile devices), and eye tracking in unique populations (older and low-literacy adults). For those who haven’t encountered eye tracking before, there’s a lot to pique your interest. Perhaps eye tracking will improve the design of your web page, saving your users a lot of confusion and misery. For instance, did you know that:
I just saved you half a book.
To be fair, this book never claims to be a comprehensive guide to eye tracking. But because the chapters all come from separate authors, many feel compelled to cover the same ground, adding up to a lot of redundancy.
On the other hand, here are some things you will not learn from the text:
This last point speaks to a general concern: While the authors are unanimous in their feeling that eye tracking has potential to reveal unique insights, there is not much in the way of ideas about what these insights may be. You can test whether people look at a menu bar more in design A or B, you can ask whether they look at your form instructions at all, but it’s not much more sophisticated than that at present. I suspect there are better answers, but they may be awaiting discovery.
On the positive side, the book is elegantly designed. I found chapters 9, 10, and 13 the best of the bunch, since these offered better, more detailed case studies.