mousEye - tracking eye attention remotely

Measuring Time and Place
on a Web Browser
Sparkie the Mouse
Tracking Attention,
Decision Making, and Such

Dr. Robert S. Owen

The links on the right were initially posted on my SUNY Oswego website in 1996 to share a few ideas with some research colleagues.  The release of Netscape 2 with JavaScript 1.0 enabled some interesting new ways to take measurements of human-computer interaction.  Unfortunately, JavaScript 1.0 was very buggy with regard to timing measures -- it had a nasty habit of punching leaky holes in users' computer memory, but later releases became more tame. 

Current generation graphical web browsers allow us to take subject measurements with regard to time and space.  This allows us to measure such constructs as attention, depth of processing, effort, and so on.  These are important constructs in both applied advertising and web usability research and in basic research on human information processing.

The links in the sidebar each illustrate some concept of measurement using in using the rollover method with a web browser.  Initial releases of JavaScript also did not allow us to take measures of cursor positioning, as illustrated with the Mouse-O-Meter at the top right corner of this page.  The demos that are elsewhere on this site and the links in the sidebar use a different method to measure position, relying instead on rollover events to trigger the collection of time and position data.  Although the use of cursor positioning might initially appear to be much simpler than the rollover method, there are some issues that make it more difficult to use.

Java, another programming environment bundled with Netscape, simply ran differently on every machine and every browser version every time I tried to use it, so I never trusted it for precision measurement.  Of course, the folks at Netscape and Sun probably never envisioned that measurement techies like me would be trying to use these for precision real time measurement!

These illustrations do not show how to save data to a local hard drive or a web server.  An explanation of how to do this is beyond the scope of this site.  JavaScript was deliberately designed NOT to be able to save data to a local hard drive from a web browser, so saving data is not a trivial task.  It can be done, however; you can get some hints by studying the Netscape-capable demonstrations that are elsewhere on this site.


Loop Timer

Stripe Test

Stroop Test

Saving Data


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