Eye tracking mobile devices – now even easier with the Tobii X2 mobile device stand

Our dedicated love on mobile devices

During my commute to and from work each day, there’s one thing I must not forget to bring with me. It’s not my train ticket or my wallet, it’s my phone, and without it I am lost. The truth is I am not the only one; people love their smartphones and other mobile devices. People are spending more and more time on mobile devices and based on the latest Flurry’s analysis, 80% of that time was spent on apps. But, the question is: on which apps? A recent study by Compuware found that 79% of people will only give an app one or two tries, and if it doesn’t meet expectations they’ll never use it again.

As marketers, it’s critical to understand how to engage your consumers by providing a better experience when they use your mobile apps. The great news is, we have just the right solution for you!

Latest solution for mobile device eye tracking testing

Our latest Tobii Mobile Device Testing solution lets you study how consumers experience mobile websites and apps and how they engage with any mobile ads on mobile devices. Tobii X2 Eye Trackers, paired with the Tobii Mobile Device Stand, provide a dedicated solution for efficient and high quality testing of mobile devices and tablets.


Accurate, the solution delivers highly accurate data you need to test small devices, where logos, text and buttons might all be within one degree of visual angle distance and any compromise on accuracy can lead to the wrong conclusions.

Efficient, we can take the eye tracker to any location where it is convenient to run your tests, you have enormous options in recruiting participants.

Flexibility and natural interaction, the solution allows test participants to interact with the mobile device in a natural way, creating a distraction-free user experience. Users can take hold of the device, smoothly rotate the device between landscape and portrait modes, and interact with it from a comfortable viewing angle.

High quality data, suitable for both quantitative and qualitative studies that require high quality behavioural data. The fixed mounted high-definition (HD) scene camera captures the details needed to analyse small screens.


We’re here to help you get on the front foot

Interbrand, a corporate identity and brand consulting firm, recently ranked Apple the most valuable brand in the world, it’s the first time Coca-Cola hasn’t topped that list since it was first published in 2000. The world as we know is changing and mobile devices are a huge part of it. Websites worldwide now get more traffic from mobile devices than PC, people browse 70% more web pages per visit. It’s time to get on the front foot of your consumer mobile experience and we’re here to help.

Click here for a quick video introduction to our mobile device testing solution!

Yoana Francisca

iPad app development – the road ahead

iPad app development is on a steep upwards trajectory yet in its wake is iPad app usability.  Recent work we conducted for a Sydney client echoed some of the findings that Jacob Neilson began to uncover recently in US regarding usability.

One of the biggest challenges we found (amongst many) was that users adopt two distinctly different mental models when using an iPad. They are the magazine mental model and the computer mental model.

Magazine mental model

With the magazine mental model users expect the app to work similarly to an ebook or emagazine because the shape and size of the iPad device mimics earlier e-reader devices. Users are satisfied with media publications that have been brought online in an electronic form, as it is an efficient, extensive and familiar experience. It is a very linear experience and the structure of the material is in a familiar format of chapters with an initial table of contents (or a catalogue with product categories). It is a wide but flat experience, rather like snorkelling in the water, looking down.

An example of the kind of industry or content suited to a magazine mental model could be online shopping. Anything where the user will be browsing and reviewing choice prior to making their purchase choice/decision.

Computer mental model

However for every other app, users expect a more computer mental model. So what this? We’ll it’s not to say that an iPad is simply a paired down PC but rather users also expect an more accessible, engaging, interactive and immersive experience. This is to be delivered in a fluid way with functionality ignited at the touch of a fingertip. For example, in our travel project participants in the study wanted to be able to see in real time where the current cruise ships were on the globe. The ideal iPad app experience should be a deep one, rather like scuba diving where you can dive deeper, much deeper.

Some examples of the types of industries or content suited to this format are: online booking services (travel, entertainment), financial budgeting and planning (modelling) and travel schedules.  Where the real experience (e.g. holidays) involves engaging all senses – sight, sound, touch – these would be ideal for the computer mental model.  

The expectations that users bring to experience are two fold, the experience must not only be informative but entertaining. Our research revealed that majority of participants used the iPad while eating a meal, having a drink, relaxing on the couch or in bed.  Other research from the UK revealed that in 2010, as much as 20% of iPad usage occurred in bed! It goes without saying given the context of use an app must be simple and uncomplicated. All in all it’s a very tall order.

There seems to be a sense of déjà vu with the rash of iPad and mobile app developments. Where 10 or so years ago businesses were rushing to have a website, we are seeing a repeat somewhat with the development of the apps. In the rush to develop these apps however the usability experience is less than ideal, and often not even considered. The difficulty expands many issues but two critical ones include a lack of navigation and the lack of affordance, which should be on the top of the list when designing an iPad app.  

Lack of navigation: The discipline of developing a simple, stable navigation is lacking in many apps. So many apps don’t even have an obvious back or home button to help participants get back on track when lost. The home page is a critical landmark which users are familiar with and the lack of it severely undermines the process. The mouse-over functionality is non-existent on the iPad and therefore rollover menus and dropdown menus are eliminated from the experience. These are very helpful functions normally on a website so the navigation design needs to work even harder to bring the content out in an easy, simple way.       

Lack of affordance: The seemingly current trend to have sleek, flat designs on an iPad app means that perceived affordance for target areas on the screen are eliminated (For example a properly designed button has the visual affordance of pushability).  Participants in our research became confused as certain links were either avoided as they didn’t look like a link or participants actively tapped items that were deliberately not a functioning item. As the design stood it was not clear what you could push or not, thus generating a considerable amount of frustration. You may very well wish to make your functions discoverable – if there is a game element – but hiding features from your users is not recommended.     

If you would like to know more about our experiences with mobile & iPad testing shoot us an email lphillips@objectivedigital or call us on 02 8065 2438.










DIY Document Camera for mobile testing & recording

Recently we did some mobile iPhone testing and were unable to use a document camera so I ended up creating a DIY document camera.

We used the Gorilla Pod by Joby called the GorillaMobile Original. It comes with some great handy mounting options such as a suction cup clip and a high-bond removable adhesive clip. We ended up using the latter to attach our webcam to the pod.

The webcam we used was a Logitech Webcam Pro 9000, which we fixed to the Gorilla Pod with the help of the removable adhesive clip that came with the pod kit.

As we use Macs, we simply hooked up the webcam to Photo Booth or you can use any other recording software (screen or webcam) to record the research sessions. There is a bit of a fiddle with software to allow Photo Booth to use an external webcam and the quality of the external webcam is not as great as it would be if you used a PC. To allow for the external webcam to work on the Mac we used a program called Macam.

This setup was used successfully for 2 days and cost much less than a document camera. Especially those that have a webcam and/or Gorilla Pod already, it becomes a very cheap alternative. 

Other useful sites that show alternative DIY recording options:

Make your own iPhone usability testing sled for 5 pounds

Recording usability tests on the iPhone