The Tracer Method: The dynamic duo combining cognitive task analysis and eye tracking

Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences


This paper introduces The Tracer Method that integrates two common approaches for understanding skilled performance: Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) and Eye Tracking (ET). This combination has the potential to provide information for game designers and human computer interaction researchers that will guide feedback to areas with the greatest payoff. Historically, ET has been used to gain behavioral insight into visual search patterns and attention, whereas CTA has been used to understand higher-level goals, strategies, and decisions. We integrate the two by using CTA to identify key events during the game, and examine ET statistics conditioned on these. In this demonstration, ET behavior was recorded while 17 experienced Overwatch players engaged in competitive play. Through post-game CTA interviews, critical decisions were identified and analyzed post play. Results provide some examples of new insights that can be captured from a combination of these methods, and used for game design, play testing, or evaluation.

Publisher's Statement

© 2018 Copyright is held by the owner/author(s). Publisher's version of record:

Publication Title

Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play Companion Extended Abstracts