Background Image for Hero Banner

Tracking eye movement earns almost £9,500 in funding from IPEM

RESEARCH to track how people read a leaflet aimed at helping children improve their dental health has been awarded almost £9,500 in funding from IPEM.

‘Designed to Smile’ is a national programme in Wales, which aims to improve children’s oral health, giving information to parents via leaflets.

It is not clear, however, the extent to which key points in these leaflets are being noticed by readers and therefore how effective they are.

Dr Damian Farnell

Dr Damian Farnell, a Senior Lecturer in Applied Mathematics in Dentistry in the School of Dentistry at Cardiff University, applied to IPEM for an Innovation Grant to help his research on tracking how people read the leaflet.

An IPEM member, Dr Farnell is leading the two-year study by staff and students in the Orthodontics and 3D Imaging Research Group in the School of Dentistry.

Infrared tracker

The study is using a small infrared tracker at the bottom of a computer screen to automatically track eye movement across an image of the leaflet on the screen. This will help to pinpoint what captures people’s interest on the screen and for how long.

A questionnaire will gather views about the clarity, completeness, ease-of-use and attractiveness of the leaflets, and a short test will be used to determine if these key information points have been retained by the reader.

This will enable the team to determine if the main messages are being conveyed effectively, and, if so, whether this leads on to improvements in knowledge. The analysis will inform the design of the leaflets and should ultimately help improve the oral health of children in Wales.

Dr Farnell said: ‘I am delighted to receive this prize from IPEM because it will allow the research team in the Orthodontics and 3D Imaging Group in the School of Dentistry to carry out an eye-tracking research project that will measure what people look at when they read information leaflets presented in general dental and orthodontic clinics.

‘It aims ultimately to inform the design of these information leaflets, which in turn will improve the oral health of the population in Wales.’

Dr Robert Farley, IPEM’s President, said: ‘‘The project Dr Farnell is leading will be very informative when it comes to the design of the leaflets, with the aim of improving the oral health of children in Wales.

‘This is the sort of research we want to support, and I’m delighted he has received this Innovation Grant from IPEM. I encourage other members undertaking such projects to apply for a grant.’

Prizes and Awards