It's All in The Eyes: The Rise of Eye-Tracking Software

22 March 2021
in collaboration with Tobii Pro
Now take this knowledge and apply it to a usability test where Sarah, a test participant, wants to buy new reading glasses. On the company’s website, she finds the right section and link but after the webpage loads, she hesitates and quits the page. After interviewing her, she said, “I was overwhelmed with all the options and didn’t know where to click”. Later upon reviewing the test, the test facilitators saw Sarah’s interaction on the website and her interest in the different types of frames and lenses but that her shopping cart stood empty. A frustrating, “We wish we could see what she saw!” resounds through in the room.

Enter eye-tracking software.

What is eye-tracking?

Today, technology is not only able to track your movements and heart rate, but also accurately track where and what you look at. The information gained from this is used extensively as a research tool to understand human behavior. From knowing your visual attention pattern, scientists and analysts can draw conclusions to what drives your behaviors and decision making as well as understanding your situational awareness or cognitive load while you perform tasks in a work environment.
In short: eye-tracking software can monitor your visual attention with regards to where you look, what you look at, and how long you look at it in order to understand your attention and mind better. 

Why study attention?  

How does the software do this?

Sensors can detect our eyes in a given environment and it’s possible to collect and analyze the data to assess our alertness, attentiveness, and focus in order to create a clear picture of our overall mood and awareness level. 

Basic eye trackers achieve this with an ordinary computer, while advanced systems use multiple cameras to track several subjects in more complex environments.

There are approximately 3 widely used methods:

  • with screen-based eye-tracking devices that attach to a computer screen/ monitor
  • by having subjects wear eye-tracking glasses
  • by using eye tracker webcams.

Despite the fact that our brains hold the secret to why we choose to look at specific things at specific times, eye-tracking software can measure and record the sequence of where our brains decide to point our eyes.

Why is it important and why do I need it?

The reasons why marketers are interested in this software are evident. If they know where people are looking on their websites and where their eyes linger the most, they can adjust their layout and Call to Action. Similarly, they can also see what doesn't attract the consumer's eye and rework and rebrand accordingly.

In the automotive field, however, it's not about appealing to the consumer in order to sell, but rather to save lives.


Think of the typical characteristics of when you are sleepy. Your eyelids start to droop, your gaze drops downward and your blinking rate slows down. Whenever the eye-tracking software detects these typical movements, the software can warn you and if necessary, stop the car completely. Eye-tracking software helps deter car accidents by identifying if the driver is drowsy or distracted. Also, the software helps establish whether new software or features in a car are too distracting, time-consuming, or complex for the driver to interact with simultaneously while driving.

If your company is creating a new ADAS system or infotainment, using eye-tracking software to determine whether your software is, in fact, helping the driver or hindering them, is essential. This is where fkaSV and Tobii Pro come in. Your new system can seamlessly be integrated into our static driving simulator and using Tobii Pro's eye-tracking glasses, we can easily test the efficacy of your software in real-life scenarios. 


Who are Tobii Pro’s customers?  

The technology has long served academic research institutions and is now making breakthroughs in the commercial world. 3,500 commercial companies, including 18 of the top 20 global advertisers, Microsoft, Google, Ipsos, Merck & Co, Denso, Electrolux, Unilever, H&M, and Procter & Gamble, use Tobii Pro’s solutions and services. 

In addition, 2,500 academic institutions and 98 out of the world’s 100 top-rated universities utilize Tobii Pro eye trackers to drive science forward. E.g., Yale, Stanford, Cambridge, Osaka, Lund, MIT, and governmental organizations such as the US Food & Drug Administration and the Swedish Civil Aviation Admin.  

How can we help you test with it?

We have been an independent partner of the automotive industry to test and validate the intersection of vehicle and driver for over 40 years. We possess a deep understanding of the vehicle, its dynamics, and the critical aspects of functional safety. Our user experience team contributes to the mission by developing the right testing methodology for each use case, for example, usability, distraction, acceptance, perceived safety, etc. We have helped our customers test their systems in our driving simulators, on test tracks, in guided experiments in real-world traffic, and in through data logging of free-roaming test fleets. This also includes using eye-tracking software in our static driving simulator. 

We use eye-tracking in the vehicle for our customers in different levels of detail:

  • Gaining a basic understanding of where the driver looks while using a system or device
  • Benchmarking visual engagement against competitors
  • Understanding which components of a system draw visual attention (display vs. control knob)
  • Recording and statistically analyzinge the gaze behavior against the automotive guideline
  • We check if controls are placed intuitively, for example, how quickly can new drivers find seat adjustment buttons and where do participants look when searching for those elements.

(left) point of view (POV) recording with driver's gaze; (right) driver's gaze mapped onto a static image for analysis
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