For tech companies, or any company with a website for that matter, eye-tracking capabilities open doors to better understanding consumers’ interests and user preferences. Unfortunately, getting an eye-tracking analysis of a website, which allows brands to actually see where users’ eyes are directed on a site, costs more than many companies with small budgets are willing to spend. However, this may all be changed soon by a startup launched in 2009 called GazeHawk, which brands itself as “eye tracking for everyone.”
Fueled had a chance to interview Brian Krausz, co-founder and CEO of the company, to see how GazeHawk works and what makes it unique. GazeHawk’s system allows companies to conduct eye-tracking tests on paid testers using basic webcams to see the order of what viewers of a site or image look at first and also where they look for the longest period of time. “Eye tracking in a perfect lab environment is easy (okay, it isn't, but it's definitely easier). Where we shine is dealing with the less-than-perfect environments,” said Krausz. “We clean up a lot of the noise caused by poor lighting, head motion, lower-quality webcams.”
With heatmaps (pictured above), customers get a breakdown of what the testers found most important or interesting. Gaze replays, another feature that GazeHawk offers, provides a real-time video replay of where the testers looked first and where they scrolled to find out more. GazeHawk also offers negotiation for companies that wish to target a more specific demographic of testers, or use an interrupt study on their actual website. According to Krausz, “Visualizations such as heatmaps are great for convincing people (we call them powerpoint fodder). Having the quantitative data is great for building your conclusions and backing them up, but nothing is more powerful when selling an idea to higher-ups than a very clear heatmaps showing where people look. People are naturally very visually-driven, and while numbers have more meat to them, pictures speak to us better.” These visual data sets are idea for marketing and advertising campaigns that want to test the visual effectiveness of an ad or do comparative testing of two different ads.
Funded by Y Combinator, a program dedicated to funding startups, GazeHawk has received acclaim from mainstream tech news via the The Huffington Post and TechCrunch. The emphasis on GazeHawk’s product, other than their robust eye-tracking technology, is the affordable pricing that the company offers. GazeHawk offers three differently priced packages and an option for a custom set. And with a prototype iPad application for mobile pages, GazeHawk still has a lot of room to grow and expand. Though the startup field is becoming increasingly competitive, GazeHawk, mastering rare technology, is definitely one to keep an eye on.