To estimate the number of participants requiredin an eye tracking study please consider thefollowing questions:
What kind of study will you do?
A) Qualitative research: Usability studies, design studies, focus groupstudies
- The purpose of the study is to find specific problems, errors, issues that can beimproved to make the usability or design better and to get feedback. Oneoccurrence of a problem is enough for it to be counted.- Only a small number of representative participants from a defined populationare required- The time used per participant for both the test and the analysis is high- Adding many more participants will not help you find more usability or designproblems. With 5 participants you can find 85% of the usability problems, with15 you can find all. See: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20000319.htmlResults: Eye movement data is only used to describe in depth how theparticipants in this study behaved while performing a task and which problemswere found. Eye movement data is used in combination with other data frominterviews, observations etc to help describe the problems and the behavior.Results cannot be generalized to be valid for the population, but they can beused to improve the product.
B) Quantitative research: Usability studies, design tests, package tests,advertisement tests, experiments etc
- The purpose of the study is to describe typical behavior, to find typicalproblems or issues and to describe how often these occur, and to find differencesor similarities between different groups of people. The more a problem occurs tomore severe is the problem.- A large number of participants should be sampled from a defined population- The time used per participant for both the test and the analysis is low- The sample size is depending on the following factors:- The subgroups (cells) that will be analyzed independently likewomen/men- The degree of risk involved in the decisions being made based on theresults- The amount of available resources (time & money)- Which statistical tests will be used for analyzing the data