Optimizing Fixation Filters for Eye-tracking on Small Screens

Julia Trabulsi, Kian Norouzi, Seidi Suurmets, Mike Storm, Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy

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The study of consumer responses to advertising has recently expanded to include the use of eye-tracking to track the gaze of consumers. The calibration and validation of eye-gaze have typically been measured on large screens in static, controlled settings. However, little is known about how precise gaze localizations and eye fixations are on smaller screens, such as smartphones, and in moving feed-based conditions, such as those found on social media websites. We tested the precision of eye-tracking fixation detection algorithms relative to raw gaze mapping in natural scrolling conditions. Our results demonstrate that default fixation detection algorithms normally employed by hardware providers exhibit suboptimal performance on mobile phones. In this paper, we provide a detailed account of how different parameters in eye-tracking software can affect the validity and reliability of critical metrics, such as Percent Seen and Total Fixation Duration. We provide recommendations for producing improved eye-tracking metrics for content on small screens, such as smartphones, and vertically moving environments, such as a social media feed. The adjustments to the fixation detection algorithm we propose improves the accuracy of Percent Seen by 19% compared to a leading eye-tracking provider’s default fixation filter settings. The methodological approach provided in this paper could additionally serve as a framework for assessing the validity of applied neuroscience methods and metrics beyond mobile eye-tracking.
Original languageEnglish
Article number578439
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2021


  • Mobile eye-tracking
  • Smartphone
  • Mobile environment
  • Social media marketing
  • Validity
  • Reliability
  • Fixation algorithms

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