What your users see – usually in the first few seconds of experiencing your site or entering the shop – is one of the most determinative factors for their next steps. Thanks to eyetracking – knowing where your users look is no longer guesswork and myths can be debunked.

Myth #1: Large buttons instantly draw a lot of attention

Myth #2: Adding many labels (sale, discount, off) always make your pages stand out and draw a lot of attention

Myth: #3: Squeezing all the most important information above the fold is a must

Does it all sound familiar?

So many times, we rely on rules of thumb and follow them blindly. What many of us fail to do is test those assumptions with the users and validate what works for your website, shop or app.

Eyetracking, which is the process of identifying where someone is looking and how has generated a great amount of interest in the user experience (UX) field. In essence, it captures behaviors that are not controllable (by users) or observable (by researchers) and has been perceived as more scientific than conventional usability testing methods.

In this article, I want to share how eyetracking can bring actionable insights to your e-commerce strategy. So, what can eye tracking reveal about online shoppers?

Qualitative Insight

When users are on your website, you only have 10-20 seconds to catch their attention.

One reason to use eyetracking in e-commerce is to obtain qualitative insight into the user’s cognitive processes in those first 10 – 20 seconds and identify what catches the attention first. The length and the number of fixations at a given element can give you insight into how engaging, comprehensible, distracting or useful an element is.

Users take in visual information must faster than their mind can consciously process. Imagine seeing what your customers can see while they are walking through your store – what colours catch their attention, which items they notice more, and which products or messages are completely invisible or even disturbing. This is where the actionable part comes into the picture – an eyetracking study gives a thorough understanding of the challenges users encounter, which leads to a more specific design recommendation.

Usability Problems

Eyetracking is very helpful to discover usability problems when conventional testing methods such as behavioural observation don’t indicate that there is a problem, for example:

· Why did the users make an incorrect action? Was there something distracting their attention from the BUY button?

· Why did the correct action take longer than expected? Was the user trying to read the information about the product or was looking for something specific?

· Why did participants fail to extract certain information?

Complementing an eyetracking study with a “Think Aloud” method, which combines what users say with what they see gives an in-depth understanding of how they interact with your website.

Performance-related dimensions

One of the most fundamental uses of eye-tracking among retailers is to see how easy it is for the visitors to use your site. Are they able to understand menu options? Can they checkout without friction along the way? Do they get how the site functions and find the information they were looking for?

Let’s look at one clear finding from multiple eyetracking studies. Many retailers are still relying so much on the screen above “the fold” – thinking all the most important information, actions, words must be added there. In fact, it is one of the major mistakes you can make. Multiple tests have shown that users have no problem scrolling down and that is a very natural behavior. Although it depends on the page you are testing, don’t be afraid to place important elements below the fold. Don’t prevent people from exploring your content by making assumptions about their behaviors.

This is just a fraction of what eyetracking can bring to e-commerce. Consumer behavior is a complex and dynamic cognitive process. We believe that UX research can help you assess, understand and ultimately influence that complex buyer behavior.

Get in touch with me to find out how eyetracking can help your business grow 🙂

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