1. Eye tracking, IMO, requires real need and investment. The eyes are
very complex sensory organs, and where they are pointing, and for how
long, are not necessarily readily interpretable data. There's a lot of
debate in the research world on how to assess eye tracking data, and
there are questions that you need an expert to answer: What kind of
movements are you seeing? Are they saccades, intentional moves, or
tracking? Why? For how long?
Can you do eye tracking inexpensively? Sure. However, all that
rudimentary eye tracking can tell you is about how long the eyes
linger, and, well, come on, they're going to linger on the most
visually compelling elements.
As someone who is fascinated by eye tracking, I have to concur with
David and say that the case studies you see of eye tracking used
outside the lab are a little too perfect, and I just don't see them as
Given the complexity of the data and the possible interpretations of
it, I can't think I would use eye tracking except in the most
specialized cases. For example, if I were designing a heads-up display
for a cockpit, it would be crucial - need to separate the attention
paid to the display and the environment. But really, only that
specialized of a problem.
2. Hiring: just my $0.02. Number one criteria is competence in the
domain - obviously, a portfolio is a big chunk of that for an IxD.
Number two criteria is willingness and ability to work in a
cross-functional team. This can be harder to find than #1. I think this
is actually just another view of what David was talking about in terms
of presentation skills. I've often wished, when I was hiring, that I
could put in the request, "Prima donnas need not apply." I can say
that in my experience, this is a make-or-break skill, and the
definition of what a good employee is in the development world.