Gazing over your CV

April 23, 2012

Stephan Weibelzahl's LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn profile: Is your resume usability tested?

At first glance, this has nothing to do with e-Learning or UX, but I came across this study that illustrates what we can and cannot learn from eye-tracking. “Keeping an eye on recruiter behavior” explores what recruiters may focus on when browsing your CV. It doesn’t really come as a surprise that recruiters spent little time with each CV. On average, it took them just 6 seconds to read a resume. Accordingly, their main focus was on the key facts, i.e., name, current position, previous position and the respective dates. Other parts of the CV were merely scanned for keywords.

So, next time you write or revise your CV, think of it as a usability design task. What would make it as easy as possible for the user, i.e., the recruiter, to pick up the message you want to get across? How can you get them to read beyond the name of your previous company? In fact, I would argue that the same principles as for website design apply: strive for simplicity, use effective writing, use white space effectively, provide visual structure, highlight important information, avoid distracting graphics, etc.

Taking this idea even further, consider to do usability testing on your resume. Test early and test often. Remember, just five users will help to identify more than 80% of the issues.


Nell lab and talk We had another  fantastic dot conf  last week and met lots of great people and heard some interesting talks ~ I for one, will never look at My Little Pony in the same way again:-)

For those of you who missed our Deep Dive, you can access   the  presentation by clicking the link below:

The eYe Factor; how to improve your website through eye-tracking

Brought to you my Prezzi, a great on-line presentation tool.

Yes it’s back!  Due to popular demand the dot conf will be running for a second year on Thursday 2 June in NCI.   We had great fun last year and at the same time managed to learn a useful thing or two along the way.  And once again, the team in NELL are delighted to presenting a deep dive session entitled:

The eYe Factor; how to improve your website through eye-tracking

Why come to this event?

Did you know? Vision dominates and uses 50 per cent of the brain’s cerebral cortex, which plays  a key part in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness

Eye-tracking is based on the Eye-mind hypothesis  that says that people look at what they are thinking about.    Eye-tracking data is a useful part of UX research in that it allows us to better explain elements of people’s behaviour when they are engaging with on-line applications.

So come along and find out more about how eye-tracking works and what  lessons we have learned here in NELL and how these can be used to improve your own designs. 

But be warned! this is a participatory event  – you might just become part of the show…

A special kind of test

January 31, 2011

Every person, regardless of whatever different abilities they may have, can contribute, can be a source of joy, can beam with pride and love.”
Eunice Kennedy Shriverlogo special olympics


We were delighted that students of  Ph.D. in Technology Enhanced Learning worked with Special Olympics Ireland  to undertake user experience research on the Special Olympics website.  The aim of the research was to find out if the website encourages users to donate to Special Olympics and/or become volunteers with the association. 

Research involved a pre-test questionnaire, an ethnographical observation including eye-tracking and a post-test interview.   Testing was conducted here in the National E-Learning Laboratory and took place Nov to Dec 2010.

Banner Blindness:

We observed one very interesting pattern through data analysis. On the homepage of the website, there is a very prominent red ‘Donate Now’ Button, please see image below.   However, eye-tracking data shows us that this button appeared to be somewhat “invisible” to testers. This is an interesting take on what Jacob Neilson calls banner blindness; that is that users don’t like looking at anything they think might be an advertisement, no matter how obvious it is.

eye-track SO

All of us here in NCI congratulate the good folks at Special Olympics Ireland on the great job they are doing and wish them all best in the future! 

For more information on this research please contact:

Bernie O’Driscoll, eMarketing Manager, Special Olympics Ireland. Bernie.O’

Special Olympics Ireland are delighted with the user experience research undertaken by the students of the Ph.D in Technology Enhanced Learning at the NCI. The results of this research have provided us with valuable insights into how users navigate on and will guide future developments on the website, with a special focus on fundraising and volunteer recruitment. As a charitable organisation, we appreciate the invaluable support of NCI & its fantastic National eLearning Laboratory.
Bernie O’Driscoll at Special Olympics Ireland

Mice Behaviour

January 8, 2010

Are we now doing research on animals?


No, we are exploring how people use their mouse when reading on a screen. Many people seem to show typical mouse usage patterns that allows us to estimate what they have read. In a collaborative study, we got 32 participants (some of them from here in Ireland and some of them through our research partner in Austria) to read a number of different texts, e.g., news items, a medical text, Google search results and an on-line course.

While they were reading we tracked their gaze position and recorded their mouse & keyboard usage. We haven’t analysed the data in detail yet, but it looks very interesting so far. More details to be follow..

For more information, contact Stephan Weibelzahl:

T: 01 4498 579


Our latest study at NELL, carried out on behalf of Mulley Communications, analysed what users looked at when presented with the results page of a Google Search.

Entitled How do you Google? An Eye-tracking study investigating users search behaviour using Google Search, the report showed, among other things that females view results in a more linear manner than males..  a finding that is somewhat contrary to similar studies recently conducted in the US.

Twenty seven people, ranging in age and gender took part in the in this study, which used SMI Be-gaze eye-tracking technology. 

Heatmap video showing what users looked at on Google search page.  Aggreated across all users.

Other important findings show that users focused  on the top three results only, most of them ignored the sponsored link on the right-hand side of the results page and that many people use Google search instead of typing a website address into the browser.   Findings that have important implications for businesses who want to market and advertise on-line.

Speaking about the report, Damien Mulley from Mulley Communications commented: “This was the first time a survey of this type was done in Ireland. It shows that not only is getting found by search engines vital for business online but in order to get credible traffic to your website or service, you need to be found at the very top of results”.

Full report available from Mulley Communications
This research was funded by Enterprise Ireland under their Innovation Voucher Initiative

Main trends that emerged from the data:

  1. The first thing that 70% of users looked at in the results page was the first result presented.
  2.  However, users paid more attention relatively, to the highest ranking result rather than sponsored links at the top of the page.
  3. Most users ignored the sponsored link on right-hand side of the results page.
  4. The participants’ main attention was focused on the top three results only.
  5. The further down the result was presented on the page, the less likely the user was to look at it.
  6. If users did look beyond the first three results, then it is likely they would explore the bottom of the page also.
  7.  If the “solution” was not included in the top two results, users were more likely to fail finding it.
  8. Neither age nor prior interest had significant influence on search behaviour.
  9. Generally, gender did not have a big impact on search behaviour, though females viewed results in more linear manner than males.
  10. When asked to go to Bebo or YouTube, many users preferred using the Google Search engine to navigate to these websites rather than typing in the URL in the address bar.