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August 2017
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BRAIN: The Analysis of E-Commerce Sites with Eye-Tracking Technologies

In this era of technology, it cannot come as a surprise that E-Commerce sites have become a significant part of the user’s online activity. In order for these websites to remain relevant to the visitors over long periods of time, attention should be brought to their efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to their interactivity dimensions. The study The Analysis of E-Commerce Sites with Eye-Tracking Technologies – written by O. Dospinescu and A. E. Percă-Robu – is examining the effects of the interactivity dimensions on users’ content comprehension and their attitudes towards e-commerce websites by using eye-tracking technologies.

Various fields use the eye tracking technology to assess the visual attention, but when considering the decision-making process, the specialized literature acknowledge that the eye movements are directly linked to peoples’ cognitive goals. By investigating the website’s interactivity dimensions, the authors explore the visual process and drawing the time spent on the site or on various regions of it. Dospinescu and Percă-Robu assume that a high level of interactivity leads to a favourable attitude towards the website, therefore it is important for the content creators to pay attention to the ease of use and the visual elements of their E-Commerce bussiness.

Eye Tribe Tracker
Eye Tribe Tracker

Five interactivity dimensions were used in order to establish the interactivity index. Personalization, synchronization and controllability have been found to be the most important dimensions of interactivity. Moreover, the authors include another two dimensions: adaptability and receptivity. Five websites were randomly selected from the Romanian top e-commerce pages included in Trafic.ro. The websites were comprised in three different groups, according to the characteristic score.

Thirty-six participants (11 males and 23 females) were examined. They ranged in age from twenty to twenty-five and have reported at least one online purchase. The study used an unobtrusive eye tracker device, the Eye Tribe Tracker, with an accuracy of 0.1-1 degrees. By using the infrared light, the eye tracker offered data about participants’ eyes. All participants could move freely, scroll and continue to the next website when ready.

The eye tracking data showed that the group of websites with a high level of interactivity received the best results concerning the efficiency and effectiveness of the websites. The results also showed that the group of websites with a high level of interactivity received a normal eye movement trajectory, without intensive cognitive processing which would suggest a possible misunderstanding of the content.
Because this study presented several limitations, the authors intend to further develop their work by including more indicators (so that multiple parameters can be calculated), using a higher number of participants, other devices and much more.

In conclusion, this paper has important implications both in practice as well as in research. The results of this study can be useful to web designers, developers, retail companies, as it delivers a scientific way to assess the new trends and at the same time, offers directions concerning the websites interactivity dimensions.

Agata Asofroniei