Historically eye tracking was expensive to the the client and alien to the participant. Now the cost of the technology has come down and consumers are familiar with the concept. It is rumored that the next iteration of smart phones will include this technology to help navigate the screen and there are computer games which now have eye tracking at their core.
Developing packaging, advertising and latterly web site design, draws on established and proven qualitative skills and experience. It is also dependent on rapport with the respondent. It is predicated on them recalling their initial reaction to the stimuli and 'thinking out loud'. Inevitably there will be a little post rationalisation and distortion of their spontaneous response.
Eye tracking provides a defined record of their encounter and visual assessment. It can serve as a discussion catalyst encouraging consumers to reveal their true responses.
Participants tend to focus in on faces, breasts and genital areas. This is common knowledge and often exploited but what’s interesting is that it seems to have nothing to do with sexual orientation!
Eye tracking is now an affordable qualitative tool and can be selectively used to provide 'hard data' to reinforce findings. I'm thinking of investing in some equipment so bring on the next assignment!