Feb 23, 2020

Eyes : window to the world

link to the videos

This week, I was playing with Tobii eye tracker. It was certainly mind blowing how I can control and lose control of eye movement at the same time. There is a part where my eye just runs to the new object that appears in front of me (without asking), and the part where my consciousness directs my eyes to stay focused in one object.

I wanted to see how I pull out information from a relatively complicated visual object(s). How do I recognize design patterns? What information do I encounter first? Do I start in the center, edges, right/left corner, and such. One obstacle I had with Tobii eye tracker was that I was distracted by the circle indicating my current gaze, so it felt like my gaze was more deliberate than wandering around.

First composition I tested was Wassily Kandinsky’s painting. As you can see in the video (link above), I first noticed bigger chunks of the painting, such as bold lines that are dividing the canvas or geometrical shapes. Then I moved on to thinner lines, details that are inside the bigger geometries.
Transverse Lines, 1923 by Wassily Kandinsky

Looking at how I analyze and approach art was very interesting. And the things that I thought I would stare at first like striking colors or interesting patterns were not necessarily true in this case. 

Then I wanted to see what happens when I encounter bunch of visual information at the same time. What draws my attention first? What is my attention span? So I browsed some patterns. (vid available in the link above)

It seems like I skip a lot of information, which ends up not even noticing some pictures at all in the same page. My eye automatically finds some links that is high contrast, or collective imagery that is somewhat readable to eye. and then it seemed like my gaze traces more on the edges when I was trying to figure out the general idea.

This made me think again about how to design – what gives me first impression, and in which order I gather information, etc. Tracking my eyes made me realize how my eyes still have primitive functionality, which I cannot really control, and contemporary functionality, which navigates me in this world full of visual stimuli.

© ymchoi 2019