Department Blog

Health Sciences Libraries

Peeking at Jakob Nielsen’s ‘Eyetracking Web Usability’

January 14th, 2010 by

The Next Generation Melvyl Catalog  provides a great peek at the long awaited book on eyetracking research by usability gurus, Jakob Nielsen  and Kara Pernice.  By clicking on the ‘Preview this Item’  button & the Google Preview link, the first two chapters are available including images. The  feature is powered by Google preview.  The ‘Preview this Item’ button is available after clicking through to the full description of the book:   
The book is currently in process at UC Santa Cruz and being ordered for UC Davis.

So what is Eyetracking?

In Pernice and Nielsen’s words at the opening of chapter one, “Eyetracking is simply following the trail of where a person is looking. With current technology, it is fairly easy to observe the path where users look on a computer screen.”  The images below are two eyetracking “heatmaps” which use colors to represent the data showing  how much users looked at different parts of the pages.


Nielsen, J. (2009), Eyetracking heatmap [screen captures]. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from, Eyetracking

Using eyetracking in your own research:  Free Report on how to run eyetracking studies

Pernice, K., & Nielsen, J. (2009).  How to Conduct and Evaluate Usability Studies Using Eyetracking. Fremont, CA: Nielsen Norman Group. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from

Access the report via the web site:

 or download the free pdf (159 pages, 16MB)

 Note on the Library Catalogs: Next Generation Melvyl is one of two catalogs available from the Library’s web site.  It includes the records of all ten UC campuses as well as libraries from around the world.  The Harvest UC Davis Catalog is our local catalog and a great choice for searching our rich and unique collections.

Seeking Permission to use the Copyrighted Images: A quick email to Jakob Nielsen’s office manager, with a cc to Mr. Nielson, resulted in a quick response from Jakob Nielsen stating: “You have permission to use the images.”. Thank you.  It’s always worth asking.