The Power of Eye Tracking Studies: What Type of Research You Can Do in Different Industries

Eye tracking studies are at the forefront of groundbreaking research in a multitude of industries, with applications in business and academia alike.

With the help of remote 3D eye tracking, companies can generate invaluable data, insights, and results for their clients to better understand their products, services, and customers. The same technology enables academic researchers to conduct non-intrusive studies in any environment, with any number of participants.

Stay tuned if you want to find out how 3D eye tracking studies can help your organization gain powerful attention insights, specifically. 

What Types of Studies Can You Do with Eye Tracking?

You can run a broad range of 3D eye tracking studies for both qualitative and quantitative research in virtually any industry. It all depends on your objective, whether it’s oriented towards people, products, safety, convenience, or all of the above.

A few types and eye tracking studies examples are:

  • Buyer psychology studies – Conduct data-based shopper research to understand your customers’ needs and create a personalized shopping experience.
  •  In-store marketing studies – Manage shelf space, store displays, and promotional campaigns based on what your customer wants to see and where they want to find it.
  • Pre-launch packaging testing – Evaluate the effectiveness of packaging design prior to product release to increase the opportunity for sales.
  • Employee performance studies – Prepare both new and experienced flight crews or drivers by testing their situational awareness, habitual reactions, and overall performance in the cockpit in emergency situations.
  • Infotainment & technology research – Improve human-machine interaction (HMI) in driver monitoring systems by studying the impact of augmented reality (AR) heads-up displays (HUDs) and gaze-controlled virtual dashboards.

Regardless of your industry, you’re bound to find at least a handful of 3D eye tracking use cases to support your research endeavors.

Current trends in eye tracking research point to retail, automotive, and aviation as innovative new players on the scene that have been optimizing their businesses by doing eye tracking studies. Click To Tweet

Results range from obtaining data-driven shopper insights for retailers to understanding performance in vehicle and flight simulators for trainees.

 

Let’s explore what types of eye tracking studies you can do in every industry and what research results you can gain:

  1. Retail Eye Tracking Studies

As a retail professional, predictive analytics is a core tool for understanding shopper behavior, customer journey, and purchase intention. But where does eye tracking come in the picture? It fuels retail analytics & shopper insights.

heatmap example for 3d eye tracking

3D eye tracking is one of the few ways retailers can get an objective, accurate, and natural peek into their customers’ minds.

 

Consumer Research Studies

You have to be able to offer the best possible shopping experience for your customers. To do so, eye tracking studies investigating attention are an actionable solution for ensuring convenience and satisfaction.

By studying your shoppers’ gaze patterns, you know what products sparked their interest and which ones were ignored altogether – all with precision, all in real time. You experience their buying process first-hand, from browsing to purchasing, directly through their eyes.

Using 3D eye tracking technology for retail studies, you have immediate access to:

  • Every step in your customer’s journey
  • Unbiased attention data from your real shoppers
  • In-store optimization insights you can extend to all digital channels

How?

Through GazeSense, the 3D eye tracking software our team has developed to help retailers connect with their customers on a new level.

Instead of conducting retail eye tracking studies with paid participants, distractive headgear, and in unnatural environments, GazeSense lets you easily collect accurate data:

  • Non-invasive – No glasses, no headsets, just one single cost-effective, consumer-grade, depth-sensing camera.
  • Remote – Record eye movements from a distance of up to 4.3 feet (1.3 meters).
  • Anonymous – Real customers, real buying data, full anonymity, all in compliance with GDPR.
  • Continuous – Stream gaze tracking data from thousands of customers as they shop. You can also store the data to further analyze it later on.
  • Effortless – No calibration necessary, set up the camera on a shelf or PoS (point of sale), map your areas of interest (AOIs), and start monitoring – in minutes.

Contact us to learn more about how our 3D eye tracking software can help you innovate your retail business with sales-generating shopper insights.

Design Studies

To convert these insights into sales, you need to ensure the optimum shopping environment.

In other words, every visual and organizational element in your store has to go hand in hand with your customers’ interests.

After running eye tracking studies, you will have the data necessary to make significant improvements to your store. This data will help you rethink your merchandising strategy, starting from shelf level and ending with PoS.

At the shelf, your eye tracking attention insights will allow you to determine:

  • How to assign shelf space and distribute items and product categories based on interest
  • Which packaging designs, color schemes, and branding approaches resulted in the most sales

eye tracking heatmap in retail

Expanding to the design of your overall store, the data helps you figure out:

  • How to configure your store layout according to your shopper’s journey
  • What store aisles receive the most visual attention
  • Which displays, ads, and promotions attract and retain the most customers

2.   Automotive & Aviation Eye Tracking Studies 

Natural human-machine interaction (HMI) is the foundation for the automotive and aviation applications of the future. Click To Tweet

The better drivers and pilots will be able to communicate with vehicles and aircrafts, the safer the experience will be for everyone involved.

And 3D eye tracking is a vital first step.

Cockpit simulators equipped with 3D gaze tracking technology provide a secure and realistic environment for effective training programs. This is how.

Driver & Pilot Training Studies

Whether on-road or in-air, unforeseen circumstances demand technical expertise, fast decisions, and heightened situational awareness. Without adequate training, the consequences are dire.

Particularly in the fields of aviation and automotive, integrating eye tracking studies into employee training programs can support adaptive learning, prevent potential accidents, and increase on-the-job performance.

The benefits of driving and flight simulators with a 3D eye tracking setup are numerous:

  • Trainees can practice uninterrupted, without any distractions, in a true-to-life setting
  • Trainers can observe employees from afar, without interfering, outside the cockpit
  • Eye movements and gaze patterns of drivers and pilots indicate their flow of attention, instinctive reactions, and problem-solving process, in any scenario or visual conditions
  • Fewer training hours, costs, and errors in the long run

 

Employee Performance Assessment Studies

In a simulation program, debriefing is just as critical as the training itself. Eye tracking research provides you with all the tools you need to give your trainees evidence-based, actionable feedback.

Upon completing a training session, you can show the trainee how they performed, as opposed to simply telling them what went right and what didn’t. The trainee will see exactly what, when, how, and where they instinctually distributed their attention.

Among the insights eye tracking reveals both during and after simulation training are:

  • Objective indicators of situational awareness (extreme weather, technical issues, emergencies)  
  • Habitual driver/pilot actions, such as looking at certain controls or panels
  • Opportunities to improve training methods

Even more, a simulator with an eye tracking setup enables you to provide on-the-spot feedback whenever needed. As the gaze data streams, you can alert the trainee about any immediate operations that have to be performed or guide them with instructions as necessary.

Our gaze tracking software can simplify and optimize your training programs by allowing:

  • Your trainees to drive or fly without any uncomfortable tracking glasses or headgear that could influence their performance
  • You to position the camera anywhere within the cockpit to track and save attention data after every session
  • Your company to develop a data-centric, trainee-focused simulation program for safer flights/drives and increased performance

Other industries that can use 3D eye tracking technology for innovative studies and research include:

3. Medical Eye Tracking Studies 

In the fields of neuroscience and psychology, eye tracking can play a pivotal role in the early diagnosis of severe mental health disorders. 

 

For instance, a new study at the Loughborough University shows that eye tracking research can help predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Another study points to eye tracking as solution for testing molecular diagnostic test reports in the context of cancer care.

4. Education Eye Tracking Studies

Educators can use 3D eye tracking to study learning behavior and improve classroom experience for students of any age group. 

 

One eye tracking study on learning materials shows how multimedia tools can be more or less efficient based on their design. But eye tracking research can also aid in evaluating teacher learning methods, for example.

5. Academic Eye Tracking Studies

Seasoned academic researchers can view their studies from a different perspective with eye tracking technology. Regardless of the research objective, gaze tracking provides a fresh angle for revisiting a previous study or tailoring the approach for a new one.  

What Data Can Eye Tracking Study Results Give You?

So, you’ve decided to incorporate eye tracking as an asset for your research company, but what’s next? What do you need to know before conducting an eye tracking study? What data can you expect?

Our software outputs a number of visual representations and metrics that help you determine the findings of your eye tracking studies:

  • Areas of Interest (AOIs) – Whether in bright (retail stores) or dim lighting conditions (flight/driving simulators), you can map multiple 3D objects and areas of interest for attention analysis.

  • Attention heatmaps – Using a variety of hot and cool tones, heatmaps reveal the AOIs that received the most and least visual attention.

what is eye tracking

  • Opacity maps – Similar to heatmaps, opacity or focus maps accentuate attention density by depicting lighter/clearer or darker/blurrier areas accordingly.
  • Gaze plots – As a key tool for behavioral research, a gaze plot shows the order in which a shopper or trainee viewed the pre-defined AOIs and objects of interest.

5 Eye-opening Takeaways from Gaze Tracking Research

When all is said and done, your eye tracking study findings can uncover business improvements and growth opportunities that you might not have ever reached otherwise.

The visual attention data you generate and the subsequent insights are decisive in understanding cognitive processes – why people think the way they do in key situations.

 

What has eye tracking research taught us thus far?

1. Attention, interest, intention, and behavior are all interconnected.

In any industry, in any application, there is the tried-and-tested cycle of attention, interest, intention, and behavior. If an object, such as a product or control dial, catches a person’s attention, it will capture their interest. 

The longer/less it holds their attention, the more interested/uninterested they will be, thereby revealing their intention. In turn, their intention determines their future actions, with uncanny accuracy.

2. Eye movements directly indicate reactions and responses.

Whether in a retail store, flight simulator, or any other natural setting, a person’s gaze will always be indicative of behavior. 

This fact can be crucial in high-stress situations when a driver or pilot needs to solve technical problems or navigate in weather conditions with poor visibility. Even in a relaxed environment, like a store, gaze patterns can predict how customers will respond to marketing messages, product placement, and category distribution.

3. Design matters. A lot.

On that note, conducting 3D eye tracking studies enables you to assess the impact of any visual elements. It also confirms that design is essential in attention acquisition and retention. 

No matter if it’s an advertisement, a cockpit simulator, or anything in between, eye tracking will assist you in optimizing your design strategies.

4. Real participants and realistic test settings provide immeasurable research value.

Standard eye tracking imposes a series of limitations on the quality of studies. Eye tracking headgear, recruited participants, and unnatural environments all contribute to the risk of observation bias, formally known as the Hawthorne effect

With remote, non-intrusive, 3D eye tracking, you can study multiple people anonymously at the same time, in real time. The results are objective, accurate, and driven by data. Click To Tweet

5. Data is at the center of improvement.

In the end, the guesswork that comes with an artificial research setup can send you down a rabbit hole of flawed findings, imprecise methods, and involuntarily biased participants. 

On the other hand, 3D eye tracking works exclusively with data-powered insights that result in effective business growth.

 

👉 Ready to try the next generation of research studies? Contact our Customer Success Team to take the first steps towards evidence-based innovation with 3D eye tracking technology.