September 25, 2019 BMS Lab

Usability studies

Usability studies are a fairly common part of the area of digital marketing and the domain of marketing. They often involve a website or app and various possible changes or designs. The usability study is then used to determine whether changes lead to the expected effects or not or they might be used to evaluate a design completely. Participants are asked to partake in tasks or browse a specifically prepared stimulus while being observed. Often the results of the study are determined from recordings of the participant’s behavior. Two main technologies used in usability studies are eye-trackers and screen capturing soft- and hardware. They both allow for a recording of the participant’s behavior, but each on their own distinct way. We will discuss both in short.

Screen capturing

The use of screen capturing devices and software allows researchers to easily capture participant’s behaviour. One could, for example, follow the participant’s mouse movements or browsing behaviour on a website to determine ease of use or what might draw the attention. Screen capturing is often used in conjunction with other technology, like eye-trackers. At the BMS lab we often use Hotjar or the incorporated screen capturing of the Tobii eye-trackers.

Eye-tracking

The BMS lab has several forms of eye-tracking available. They do as the name suggests and track eye movement, gaze and stare. This means researchers can accurately follow reading and viewing patterns and answer questions related to visual stimuli. Both a version of the Tobii eye-tracker exists that can be easily attached to any screen (combine this with a screen capture device) or one that can be worn as a set of glasses. The latter allows for a wider use and even without the need of a screen, but is as a result more complex to analyze.