A systematic of eye and gaze movement parameters for ergonomic research and application


Matthias Roetting

Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics, Aachen University of Technology
Bergdriesch 27, 52062 Aachen, Germany
Phone +49 (0)241 409 01 76, Fax +49 (0)241 888 81 31
Email: matthias@roetting.de

Luczak et al. (1987) introduced a concept of ergonomics, differentiating seven levels. An individual person is in the focus of the first three levels and groups of persons are in the focus of the four higher levels. For all seven levels Luczak (e.g. 1997) describes the focus and the models guiding ergonomic task analysis. The focus of levels one to three, concentrating on an individual person, can be described as follows:

1.      Determination of physiological costs (costs of information processing and energetic expenditure for task items, task components and entire tasks).

2.      Explanation, calculation and prediction of times (for task constituents and combined tasks).

3.      Analysis of human-machine-interaction (comparison of different versions of human-machine-interaction in several dimensions, e.g. requirements, demands, stability, errors).

Rötting (2001) assigned parameters of eye and gaze movements to these three levels of task analysis. Based on an extensive literature review a large number of eye and gaze movement parameters was described. Parameters are based on raw data, the characteristics of saccades or fixations, the scan path or are a combination with other measurements. The description of the different parameters consist of its name (or names), a definition of the parameter and how it is operationalized, common values and a discussion of the parameter, its physiological basics, how it can be interpreted and how it relates to other parameters. The different parameters were than assigned to the different levels of task analysis. On level one (”Determination of physiological costs”) there are eye and gaze movement parameters that reflect changes in arousal, describe levels of fatigue and vigilance, changes in the visual field, the “cost” of moving the eye and changes due to a secondary task. On the second level (”Explanation, calculation and prediction of times”) there are parameters that relate to the duration of information acquisition and information processing, the duration of eye transitions and the duration of search processes. Level three (”Analysis of human-machine-interaction”) parameters help in the analysis of the spatial layout of the human-machine-interface, of search processes, of information acquisition and information processing tasks and of levels of processing.

The systematic can guide researchers in the design of their experiments, can help in the selection of parameters and eye movement recording equipment. In addition, the systematic can be used in the design of ”eye aware interfaces” and in the design of operator state monitoring systems.

Luczak, H. et al. (1987). Arbeitswissenschaft - Kerndefinition - Gegen­stands­katalog - Forschungsgebiete. Eschborn: Rationalisierungs-Kuratorium der Deutschen Wirt­schaft (RKW) e.V.

Luczak, H. (1997). Task Analysis. In G. Salvendy (Ed.). Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics (340-415).Chichester: Wiley.

Rötting, M. (2001). Parametersystematik der Augen- und Blickbewegungen für arbeitswissenschaftliche Untersuchungen. Doctoral dissertation, Aachen University of Technology. Aachen: Shaker.