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Eye-tracking Study Report: Examining User Patterns for Demographic Items on the 2007 and 2008 ACS Mail Forms

Kathleen T. Ashenfelter

KEY WORDS: Eye-tracking, survey design, American Community Survey, same-sex spouse statistics

ABSTRACT

This usability study was requested by the Housing and Household Economics Statistics Division (HHES) to investigate the possible reasons why a sharp drop occurred in the unweighted sample number of households (from about 6,000 to 2,500) between the 2007 and 2008 ACS data where the sex of the spouse was the same as the householder. For this study, participants completed a low-fidelity version of either the 2007 or the 2008 ACS mail form and their eye movement patterns were compared. The results showed that participants tended to use many different patterns or strategies when completing the 2007 ACS form while all of the participants who completed the 2008 form used the same basic strategy. Additionally, participants reported being more satisfied with the 2008 form overall, although there was no significant difference in the amount of time taken to complete the two different versions of the form. Additionally, although participants tended to look at the gender item for longer periods of time with the 2008 form overall, the difference was not significant. Although there is evidence that participants showed less systematic eye movement patterns for the 2007 form, there was not direct evidence that the change in the form layout caused the decrease in the reporting of households where the sex of the spouse was the same as the householder.

CITATION: Ashenfelter, Kathleen T. (2009). Eye-tracking Study Report: Examining User Patterns for Demographic Items on the 2007 and 2008 ACS Mail Forms. Statistical Research Division Study Series (Survey Methodology #2010-01). U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at <http://www.census.gov/srd/papers/pdf/ssm2010-01.pdf>.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division

Published online: January 5, 2010
Last revised: December 3, 2009


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistical Research Division | (301) 763-3215 (or chad.eric.russell@census.gov) |   Last Revised: October 08, 2010