Eye-tracking pilot study

An eye-tracking pilot study was carried out by UoE at Exeter Cathedral in late January 2018. Following the project launch event in September 2017 and UoE’s discussions with Sir Tim Smit (co-founder of the Eden Project) the team started to consider ways of measuring what interests visitors the most as they tour attractions.

The study used Tobii Pro glasses to see how pupils dilate when looking at a particular place or object. These glasses are fitted with infra-red sensors which calibrate to the targets and track exactly what they are looking at and therefore what artefacts in particular are attracting interest. This is then correlated with certain psychographic and demographic data, so it can be seen which artefacts might need particular ‘nudges’.

The study gave an insight into different sorts of visitor profiles and several findings came to light:

* Unless they were using an audio guide, people were not engaged with the stories around the Western Window

* the audio tour led people to focus on the clock but others were most focussed on written information about the clock

* Use of the audio guide ‘prevented’ people from visiting the shop.

This shows us that in order for visitors to get the most out of their tour of the Cathedral, storytelling and interpretation needs is important when it comes to designing the flow of how people move around the building.