Gazemarks: Gaze-based visual placeholders to ease attention switching

Dagmar Kern*, Paul Marshall, Albrecht Schmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

56 Citations (Scopus)


Many tasks require attention switching. For example, searching for information on one sheet of paper and then entering this information onto another one. With paper we see that people use fingers or objects as placeholders. Using these simple aids, the process of switching attention between displays can be simplified and speeded up. With large or multiple visual displays we have many tasks where both attention areas are on the screen and where using a finger as a placeholder is not suitable. One way users deal with this is to use the mouse and highlight their current focus. However, this also has its limitations - in particular in environments where there is no pointing device. Our approach is to utilize the user's gaze position to provide a visual placeholder. The last area where a user fixated on the screen (before moving their attention away) is highlighted; we call this visual reminder a Gazemark. Gazemarks ease orientation and the resumption of the interrupted task when coming back to this display. In this paper we report on a study where the effectiveness of using Gazemarks was investigated, in particular we show how they can ease attention switching. Our results show faster completion times for a resumed simple visual search task when using this technique. The paper analyzes relevant parameters for the implementation of Gazemarks and discusses some further application areas for this approach.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2010 - The 28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference Proceedings
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010
Event28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2010: we are HCI - Atlanta, United States
Duration: 10 Apr 201015 Apr 2010
Conference number: 28


Conference28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2010
Abbreviated titleCHI 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
OtherCHI (ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems) is the premier international conference for the field of human-computer interaction. CHI 2010 looks outward to the human experience of computing in the world. “We are HCI” challenges our community to embrace the diversity of HCI in the world and to exclaim our commitment as a profession to empower people from all walks of life.
Internet address


  • attention switching
  • eye-gaze interaction
  • gazemarks


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