Heat mapping, a technology that has been incorporated into some eye gaze devices, is a tool that allows researchers to study and better understand how people view images and videos. When using eye gaze systems, it is possible to set up and utilize these heat maps that collect data on people’s gaze patterns. Understanding the gaze patterns of people not only benefits those interested in advertising but allows researches who work with people that are immobilized to better understand how their clients are using eye gaze. Being able to understand the habits and patterns that are common amongst users would enable researchers and engineers to improve the technology.
Tobii Dynavox has various commercially available eye gaze devices that can incorporate heat mapping. Tobii has also created an SDK package that allows for using the heat mapping technology. There are some important considerations when using heat mapping. For Tobii specifically, since the Tobii Core SDK package does not permit storing data, if one wants to incorporate heat mapping, the Tobii Pro SDK license must be purchased. While heat mapping is an interesting tool, the Tobii Pro website suggests that people misuse heat map data. They warn, “choosing the right basis for constructing a heat map is the critical first step. And to do it right, one must have in mind the study objective and the point to be made with the visualization.”
A video that demonstrates heat mapping can be found at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSMnyN_ioJU
For more information on heat mapping through Tobii Pro, their website can be visited at: https://www.tobiipro.com/learn-and-support/learn/steps-in-an-eye-tracking-study/interpret/working-with-heat-maps-and-gaze-plots/