VIPP in December 2009

I had to cancel – or rather postpone – this year’s symposium due to eye-tracking tests that took place from Oct 15th to Dec 2nd 2009. Eye-tracking tests were made by Tobii equipment of TKK at Konemiehentie 2, Otaniemi. Total of 67 participants with 15 different native languages were tested with the set of 35 pictures that included the six proposals made by 6 designers. After the eye-tracking test each participant made the colour naming test. Thus we are able to analyse both the data of eye-tracking tests and the data of the colour naming test in the next workshop in January 2010. The January workshop is also the third VIPP symposium.

Experiments in October – December 2009


The participants were from Asia, Europe, and Latin America between the ages of 22 and 63, with 31 males and 36 females using total of 15 languages as mother tongues. All of the participants had experience browsing webpages, and all were living in Finland during the test. The participants had following 14 languages as native languages:

  • Finnish
  • English
  • Portuguese
  • Hindi
  • Turkish
  • Japan
  • Tamil
  • Finnish Sign Language
  • Chinese
  • Spanish
  • German
  • Malayalam
  • French
  • Russia

The youngest participant was 22 years and the oldest was 63 years. After the eye-tracking tests 7 participants made the colour naming test at Media Lab, TAIK. The “new” languages in these test were

  • Korean
  • Swedish spoken in Finland
  • Serbian

Thus the total set of languages in colour naming test is 17 languages.

Eye tracking in colour testing

Eye-tracking movement was measured based on eye-tracking metrics using Tobii equipment. The main measurements used in eye-tracking research are “fixation” and “saccades.” These are defined by Dong & Lee (2008) as follows:

  • Fixation: The focusing of the eye on an object is termed fixation. A fixation defined by the eye position stabilizes within some threshold of dispersion (typically ~2°) over a duration lasting from 66 to 416 milliseconds (218 ms on average).
  • Saccade: A rapid eye movement from one location to another is termed a saccade. It is the movement occurring between fixations, typically lasting for 20 to 35 milliseconds (Poole & Ball, 2005). During a saccade, no information is obtained.

Several other eye-tracking metrics are also commonly used:

  • Scan path: A spatial arrangement of a sequence of fixations. It usually consists of a sequence of fixations and interconnecting saccades.
  • Area of Interest (AOI): Area of a display or visual environment that is of interest to the researcher or design team and is thus designed by them (not by the participant).
  • Gaze duration: Cumulative duration and average spatial location of a series of consecutive fixations within an area of interest. Gaze duration typically includes several fixations and may include a relatively small amount of time for the short saccades between these fixations.

Modern eye-tracking equipment makes it possible to track and analyse the process of visual perception that is an essential part of a user’s interaction with an interface. Research in eye movement has flourished with major advances in both eye-tracking technology and the psychological theories that link eye-tracking data and cognitive processes. Eye tracking provides insight into a user’s cognitive strategies and allows identifying unconscious patterns. Cowen, Ball, and Delin (2002) claimed that eye movement data can augment data obtained through user testing by providing more specific information about a user’s cognitive processes. Most of the work in this area is focused on research in psychology and physiology and explores how the human eye operates and what this can reveal about perceptual and cognitive processes. Salvucci (1999) has stated that eye movements provide a rich and informative window into a person’s thoughts and intentions.


Participants were given brief instructions after they arrived in the experiment room. They were told that the purpose of the test was to clarify how people using different languages might use different search strategies while seeking film post production information. They were informed that an eye-tracking device would be used in the test and that it would not directly come into contact with them. In the experiment, their eye movements would be recorded, and the recorded results would be used only for the research and not for evaluating users. They were encouraged to relax during the test.

After being seated in front of the monitor and eye-tracking device, participants were informed of the details of the experiment, including how the eye-tracking device would work and what they would be asked to do during the experiment. After instruction the participants’ eyes were calibrated in relation to the screen of the monitor on which the photograph was to be presented in the end of test set of pictures. After calibration several pictures were shown to participants, and they were asked to freely look at the each picture to find film production related pages. The task was to determine how people actually view a webpage when specifically searching film post production information and thus to reveal their natural viewing pattern. The colour naming test was made after the participants’ eye movements were recorded.

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