About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 138-147
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain

EYE TRACKING AND THINK-ALOUD PROTOCOLS AS COMPLEMENTARY USABILITY TESTING METHODS: EXPLORING INTERFACES DEMONSTRATING PHYSICAL PROCEDURES

D. Roy

University of Aizu (JAPAN)
This article is designed to explore how systematic use of specific usability testing methods could be taught in methods-based usability courses in computer science, psychology, communications and other related disciplines.

Eye tracking is a new area of research in usability testing of web interfaces. Broadly speaking, eye-tracking enables experimenters to determine if some regions in the task environment (e.g., website, software interface) were attracting too little attention while others are attracting too much. Eye tracking has the unique advantage of being able to capture reader’s eye fixation and movement (duration) data in the work space while the think-aloud methods can help readers verbalize their impression of the specific approach undertaken during the task. However, the major concern with eye-tracking method seems to be that eye fixation and duration data might not help understand the cognitive process behind readers’ actions.

This article argues that specific usability testing techniques if used additively to complement each other can help capture readers’ exact thought process during task completion. Readers often fail in verbally narrating the process of mentally animating complicated procedural instructions. In other words, there remains a gap in what readers think they did and what they actually did. However, if usability techniques like concurrent and retrospective think-aloud protocols are used in conjunction with eye-tracking method in a systematic way, and if readers are asked to narrate the tasks in a detailed manner with leading questions with visual cues about the undergone process, it might help explain the exact manner in which readers approached the task.

This article analyzed physical tasks for procedural design as examples of complex usability testing scenario and explained how think-aloud protocols could be used to understand the cognitive process. This study considered eye-tracking and think-aloud protocols from a theoretical standpoint of studying readers’ mental models. The focus here is primarily on comprehending readers’ ability for mechanical reasoning and self-reporting of task approach. The paper will also include a solid review of literature in support of the proposed recommendations on how to use think-aloud protocols as a support case for cognitive information processing during usability testing.
@InProceedings{ROY2011EYE,
author = {Roy, D.},
title = {EYE TRACKING AND THINK-ALOUD PROTOCOLS AS COMPLEMENTARY USABILITY TESTING METHODS: EXPLORING INTERFACES DEMONSTRATING PHYSICAL PROCEDURES},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {138-147}}
TY - CONF
AU - D. Roy
TI - EYE TRACKING AND THINK-ALOUD PROTOCOLS AS COMPLEMENTARY USABILITY TESTING METHODS: EXPLORING INTERFACES DEMONSTRATING PHYSICAL PROCEDURES
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 138
EP - 147
ER -
D. Roy (2011) EYE TRACKING AND THINK-ALOUD PROTOCOLS AS COMPLEMENTARY USABILITY TESTING METHODS: EXPLORING INTERFACES DEMONSTRATING PHYSICAL PROCEDURES, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 138-147.
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