Unlocking the Evaluation Potential of Eye-Tracking in Multimedia Storytelling
Students from Volda University College in Norway have recently used eye-tracking technology to analyze web documentaries. The use of this technology has allowed them to gain valuable insights into how viewers interact with online content, and how documentary makers can better engage their audience.
Course teachers Kishore Gajenda and Isak Okkenhaug demonstrate how to calibrate the eye-tracking glasses. Student Daria D. Krzemkowska lending her eyes to the purpose.
Eye-tracking technology involves the use of special cameras and software that can monitor a person's eye movements as they watch a video or look at a webpage. By analyzing this data, researchers can recognize what parts of a webpage or video attract the most attention, how viewers move their eyes around the screen, and how long they spend looking at different elements.
At Volda University College students, the students used eye-tracking to analyze several different web documentaries. They looked at elements such as the placement of text, images, and videos on the page, as well as the use of other multimedia elements. By analyzing the eye-tracking data, they were able to gain insights into what elements of the documentaries were most engaging for viewers, and how the documentary makers could improve their work to better capture the attention of their audience. You can read the students' insights reports at the bottom of this article.
Preparing future content creators
This use of technology is part of the course pedagogical approach labeled Innovation
pedagogy. The aim is to prepare students for a future characterized by constant change
and new technologies with no fixed practices or norms. By playing with such
technologies as eye-tracking glasses, the students will reveal both potentials and
limitations for their future practice. “Nobody is better suited for exploring these novel technologies than young students with advanced media practices – soon to be the futures content creators”, says Kjetil Vaage Øie, leader of the course. You can read more about Innovation Pedagogy here (in Norwegian).
The students analyzed web documentaries made by previous students, but also examples from The Guardian. "It was a very useful experiment, and has great potential. We learned that visual elements are the most important and catch the attention", says Wouter Gasse, one of the students. "On top of that,using long text can really blow back the documentary experience. Although it was great using eye-tracking itself, the software can be quite overwhelming."
"This feels like a breakthrough for media evaluation. As a graphic designer, it is one of the most useful tools to see where the users are having problems or difficulties with for example the layout", says Maria Chojnacka, also a student. "It's also interesting to notice the basic patterns people use. Everyone in our culture reads from left to right and from top to bottom, but the way people perceive a website is not always that straightforward. It's great that Volda is on top of the new technology that the media landscape has to offer."
Valuable learning experience
Using eye-tracking technology in this way provides a more objective and data-driven way to evaluate web documentaries. Rather than relying solely on subjective opinions or feedback from viewers, eye-tracking data provides concrete information about how viewers are actually engaging with the content.
'In addition to its use in evaluating web documentaries, eye-tracking technology has a wide range of applications. For example, eye-tracking technology can be used to analyze how people interact with websites, advertisements, and other visual stimuli, which can help businesses and marketers optimize their content to be more effective", says Kjetil Vaage Øie. "The chance that the students will face this technology later on in their carreer is all the more likely, making it a valuable learning experience."
Group 1: Marjo van Yperen, Sophia Becker, Paul MacGillivray, Åsna Kleiv, David Toman Søberg
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