Friday, April 18, 2008

Mousetracking in web search

Googlers Kerry Rodden, Xin Fu, Anne Aula, and Ian Spiro had a short paper last week at CHI 2008, "Eye-mouse coordination patterns on web search results pages" (ACM site), with some some very nice graphs showing common behaviors using the mouse on web search results and how they correspond to eye movements over the page (see Figure 1, 2, and 3).

Unfortunately, their results seem to indicate that mouse tracking is only weakly correlated with eye tracking, so mouse tracking might be less useful than one would hope for determining which items on a web search result page were never even seen by a searcher.

For more on using mouse tracking as a replacement for eye tracking to understand what people look at on web search result pages, please see my earlier post, "Cheap eyetracking using mouse tracking", and its discussion of a SIGIR 2007 paper by some of the same Google authors.

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