Habuchi, Kitajima, & Takeuchi: "Comparison of Eye Movements in Searching for Easy-to-Find and Hard-to-Find Information in a Hierarchically Organized Information Structure"

Habuchi, Y., Kitajima, M., & Takeuchi, H. (2008). Comparison of Eye Movements in Searching for Easy-to-Find and Hard-to-Find Information in a Hierarchically Organized Information Structure. In K. Räihä & A. T. Duchowski (Eds.), ETRA 2008 - Proceedings of the Eye Tracking Research and Application Symposium. Presented at the ETRA 2008, Savannah, GA: ACM Press. 131-134.





Eye Movements in Search of Hyperlinks to Go to Other Pages


F-shaped eye movements for websites. Cutrell et al. and Guan et al. found that adding info to search results significantly improved performance for info tasks but degraded for nav tasks (131).


Combining Web Usability Studies with Eye-Tracking Studies


argues against equating difficulty with eye-movement data.


Blackmon''s Cognitive Walkthrough for the Web (CWW). Uses Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) semantic space. ID''s user probs "based on an estimate of the strength of information scent that the correct hyperlinks emit for a given search target relative to the strength of information scent that the rest of the hyperlinks, i.e., the wrong hyperlinks, emit" (131). "The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between task difficulty and eye movements by independently assessing task difficulty, applying a method developed for web usability studies" (131). Info search tasks. Four difficulties: 1) NP; 2) weak scent correct link problem; 3) unfamiliar correct link problem; 4) competing links nested under competing headings.


Types of Website Usability Problems Identified by CWW


Weak Scent Correct Link Problem


= correct link semantically unrelated to visitor''s goal (serious)


Unfamiliar Correct Link Problem


target visitors lack sufficient background knowledge to comprehend the link text and estimate its similarity to current goals.


Competing Links Nested Under Competing Headings Problem


heading semantically similar to visitor''s goal but associated links do not have link that leads to accomplishing visitor''s goal (likely serious)






Find object in simulated encyclopedia website.




32 items (16/16 Humanities/Sciences). Each selected for a usability problem type.




11: 4 males, 7 f; 21-45; normal/corrected to normal vision; regular web users.


Apparatus and Procedure


Tobii 1750 Eye-tracking system. Dependent variables: time to complete task, total number fixations, total duration of fixation.




performance divided into two stages: from beginning until 1stclick (initial heading selection stage); rest of task (link selection stage) (133).


Initial Heading Selection Stage


One way ANOVA for total processing, total # fixations, total duration fixations. No dff among conditions


Link Selection Stage


1 way ANOVA for processing, total # fixation, duration of fixations


Total Processing Time and Total Number of Fixations


Significant direction between processing and # of fixations. Participants spent more time on pages with usability probs.


Total Duration of the Fixations


again, significant difference.




difference not in initial stage but significant in link selection for pages with usability issues.




Issues worse on pages with weak scent or unfamiliar problem.