Through one’s eyes, we can read one’s mind. Today, science makes the saying real through ‘eye tracking’ which detects people’s eyes and guesses their minds. Moreover, it can make one’s eyes follow as the producer intended. Don’t ease up your eyes in front of Jang Jin Deok (JANG). He would take your mind before you know it!
SMT What is ‘eye tracking?’ And how do you use and apply it in your business?
JANG In layman’s terms, eye tracking is the machine to use the reflected infrared light from the eyes and detect the eyes’ movement. With this, we can measure the eyes’ movement in real time. Four years ago, the website Naver was known as just Jisikin (Jisik means knowledge and In indicates to a person, Korean-styled Wikipedia only for Koreans.) We realized that people didn’t use any function but Jisikin in our website. Hence, we couldn’t get searching incomes as much as our fame caused by Jisikin. Therefore we devoted deep study to break through the problem. Although we had log data, it had the limit that they could only track the amount of clicking, so we couldn’t guess how the clicking happened. We thought we needed to know the progress of netizen’s clicking. Therefore we decided to use eye tracking. However we are still thinking, it is also one of the methods to research the netizen’s clicking patterns. We are studying with the several topics and the results of research constantly.
SMT How did you meet the eye tracking?
JANG Actually, I didn’t intend to study eye tracking. When I was senior in university, my academic advisor brought the first eye tracking machine in Korea, and it was one of only a few in the world at that time. He said, “In the cyber-world which would come soon, studying about it must be an advantage to you.” As research assistant, I met the eye tracking. The first machine which was brought in Korea had to control all the systems of the machine, so it was very difficult for me because I was not a student from department of technology. Bravely, I e-mailed Charles Clifton, the professor in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and asked for consultation. For about two years, I sent ten mails per a day and studied about eye tracking.
SMT It is important how something is exposed. You are controlling the exposure of many things in the websites. What is the right exposure in this time?
JANG In the past, the exposures were static and a little dynamic exposures could be focused. However, these days, all exposures are dynamic, excitatory. People who are bored with the dynamic exposure and intentionally avoid the exposure such as ads or banners and it happens involuntarily. To avoid the problems and draw people to see the whole webpage, we are seriously considering how we expose constantly. To this question, there is no answer. People are becoming variously and changing endlessly, so this part has to be considered continually.
SMT As a pioneer, it must be hard time to you when you studied and applied eye tracking to your business. Do you have any advice to the students who want to try new things?
JANG When I was a freshman, I was wandering. One day, the academic advisor brought me to the library. He said, “Do you know how many books are in our library? It may be 40 million books. And then, have you ever decided to read the books in your school day? If you try to read or do other things, you don’t have time to wander or worry about your future. Find your works which you want to do. And just do it. You have not enough time to do your best to do it. It is wasting time to worry about something.” I think so, too. I still don’t know about everything and I don’t have enough time to study about them. Do your best on your work. If you decide to do something, do your best so that you will not regret. Between one who does one’s best and others, there is a big gap in the course of time.