Usability of MyFireWatch for non-expert users measured by eyetracking

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Australian Journal of Emergency Management


Emergency Management Australia


School of Arts and Humanities




Brady, D., Ferguson, N., & Adams, M. (2018). Usability of MyFireWatch for non-expert users measured by eyetracking. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 33(4). 28-34.

Available here.


MyFireWatch is a public-access fire information system that shows the location of satellitederived hotspots on a map layer. Originally developed for expert users, MyFireWatch was created with a user-centred design methodology. This paper describes a study of the onscreen viewing behaviour of nonexpert users of MyFireWatch, using eye-tracking technology to observe their use of the system. Non-experts between 20 and 80 years of age were able to use the online system to locate current fires and burnt areas. This validated the design. The study showed that younger users appeared more familiar with interactive map conventions that allowed them to search more quickly than older users. However, older users were able to substitute their prior navigation knowledge for some features. Using aggregated eye-tracking data for different areas of interest on the MyFireWatch interface, maps and fire information functions were viewed by participants the most. Areas on the interface containing menu bars and logos were viewed the least. This paper considers the usability for nonexperts of an interactive map designed to visualise the location of remotely sensed fires.

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