Using eye tracking as a tool to teach informatics students the importance of user centered design

11 Jan 2018

In this article the authors describe how they incorporate eye tracking in a human-computer interaction (HCI) course that forms part of a postgraduate Informatics degree. The focus is on an eye tracking assignment that involves student groups performing usability evaluation studies for real world clients. Over the past three years the authors have observed how this experience positively affected students’ attitude towards usability and user experience (UX) evaluation. They therefore believe that eye tracking is a powerful tool to convince students of the importance of user centered design. To investigate the soundness of their informal observations, the authors conducted a survey amongst 2016 HCI students and analysed student course evaluation results from 2014 to 2016. The findings confirm that students regard the eye tracking assignment as a mind altering experience and that it is potentially an effective tool for convincing future IT professionals of the importance of usability, UX and user centered design.