Eye movements as indices for the utility of life-like interface agents: A pilot study

Helmut Prendinger*, Chunling Ma, Mitsuru Ishizuka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We motivate an approach to evaluating the utility of life-like interface agents that is based on human eye movements rather than questionnaires. An eye tracker is employed to obtain quantitative evidence of a user's focus of attention without distracting from the primary task. The salient feature of our evaluation strategy is that it allows us to measure important properties of a user's interaction experience on a moment-by-moment basis in addition to a cumulative (spatial) analysis of the user's areas of interest. We describe a pilot study in which we compare attending behavior of subjects watching the presentation of a computer-generated apartment layout and visualization augmented by three types of media: an animated agent, a text box, and speech only. The investigation of eye movements revealed that deictic gestures performed by the agent are more effective in directing the attentional focus of subjects to relevant interface objects than the media used in the two control conditions, at a slight cost of distracting the user from visual inspection of the object of reference. The results also demonstrate that the presence of an interface agent seemingly triggers natural and social interaction protocols of human users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-292
Number of pages12
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • Animated interface agents
  • Evaluation
  • Eye movements
  • Focus/shift of attention
  • Web based presentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Eye movements as indices for the utility of life-like interface agents: A pilot study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this