Usability studies have been and continue to be a key method for testing and optimizing website usability.Â Both laboratory eye tracking and remote mouse tracking studies offer businesses accurate and actionable results. Eye tracking, as used by top enterprises such as Google, uses cameras and specialist software to track where the eyes of internet users land on a webpage. Mouse tracking analytics follows the mouse movements of an internet user to simulate eye movement on a webpage.Â Over the last few years, mouse tracking has greatly matured, developing features and achieving accuracy that make it a credible alternative to eye tracking.
Research has shown that when both methods of testing are conducted simultaneously, there is an 84%-88% correlation in the results1. In addition, both the eye and mouse move to relatively the same rhythm and focus in on the same page content2. Both eye and mouse tracking analytics deliver valuable information about how your visitors are engaging with your website. This is vital to work out what changes you need to make in order to benefit your visitors’ experience and your ROI.
Pros & Cons
As with any process, each method of testing comes with its advantages and disadvantages.
Eye Tracking Analytics
Mouse Tracking Analytics
There still exists a cloud of debate between eye and mouse tracking camps regarding the value of gauging subconscious thought versus that of actionable intent. Eye tracking does capture significantly more involuntary eye movement than mouse tracking, providing abundant information into a visitor’s subconscious.Â However, the mouse tracking camp contends that, for many websites, it is more valuable to understand customers’ intent rather than their subconscious behavior, which is often subjective and can be misleading. Let us know what you think about the debate in the comments below.
What should I use?
In an ideal world, every website would use both eye and mouse tracking analytics, as each method delivers valuable and actionable information. Research conducted by Google3 concluded by saying that BOTH mouse and eye tracking should be used when evaluating and optimizing website usability. However, only some of the world biggest websites can afford to conduct regular eye tracking studies. This is therefore not a viable option for small or mid-size businesses, which should still rely on inexpensive and frequent mouse tracking studies.
We all deserve to know what our visitors think of our websites as well as with what elements our visitors are engaging, for your benefit and theirs.
References / further reading