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  4. Setting up for Moderated / On-Site Studies

Setting up for Moderated / On-Site Studies

Most of our views come from unmoderated view-at-home users who are recruited through third party panels. However, some clients conduct on-site studies where users are brought into a facility with suitable computers.

Since the environment is very important in getting good results, we recommend you take some time to set up the study environment nicely. If the environment is good, it will work reliably. If the lighting is bad, you will experience problems!

First off, have a look at our article on lighting. During the day, set up the desks facing towards windows. This will ensure the face is well illuminated. At night time, use diffuse and bright lighting and make sure there aren’t shadows under the eyes.

Environment & Equipment Setup

Second, we recommend the following items:

  • A comfortable, adjustable-height chair, so tall or short viewers aren’t straining to get in position.
  • Use a real mouse not a laptop touchpad. While we are familiar with our own touchpads, it’s often difficult to get used to a strange one. The mouse provides better tactile feedback.
  • A large screen so the camera is approximately at eye height. Avoid using tiny ultra-portable laptops such as 11″ MacBook Air’s. Use a larger 15″ laptop, or a desktop computer with a 15″-17″ screen. With the smaller laptops, users are often peering down from above because the screens are so small.
  • A fast computer. The faster your computer the better your results. If you use an i5 or i7 CPU you will get 20 samples/second, but if you use an i3 you might only get 12-15. For recognition of quick eye movements the extra speed really helps.
  • A solid desk for the computer/screen.

Screening Participants

When you’re screening the participants, remember some key points:

  • We don’t support use of glasses. Ask participants with glasses to remove them, if possible. Contact lenses are fine. Many people wear glasses for short-sightedness (myopia), which means they can see a computer screen fine without them.
  • Hair: Make sure that long fringes don’t get in the way of the eyes.
  • Heavy makeup can be problematic if it includes dark shadowing around the eyes.

Briefing Participants

During the studies, we recommend a verbal or written briefing of the participants. Please remind them:

  • Don’t cover your face with your hands.
  • Relax and act naturally.
  • You may want to get each participant to do a simple test study first, so they get used to the workflow and the process. They can also ask questions at this stage. Then they can complete one or more real eye tracking studies by themselves. To avoid being charged credits for test studies, either contact us for a special test URL or simply cancel the viewing before you upload the result.


The first time can often be quite distracting with other people around: It’s a new experience for many people so they can be a bit anxious or keen to please. It’s best to leave them to complete the studies by themselves, so they’re not distracted by wanting to talk to you during the process. This is another reason why an initial test study is a good idea.

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