A new and quantitative method is needed for the evaluation of IT systems in terms of functionality and usability, mainly in those applications related to the field of training and education. The E-TRACKING project has the main goal of defining a new quantitative evaluation method which is based on the analysis of eye movements during the exploration of the computer display, which is the device used to provide information to the user.

The rationale of this new methodology can be summarised as follows. Visual information can be acquired only when the image of the object of interest falls on the fovea. Therefore eye movements are needed to shift the gaze from one part to the other of a visual scene the subject is exploring. The visual scene, in this particular application, is represented by the computer display. Therefore, the study of eye movements during visual exploration can tell us where the subject is looking and for how long his gaze remains on a specific part of the screen.

When an e-learning system displays information on the computer screen, the underlying assumption is that the user actually looks at the screen in this particular region, remains in this region for a time long enough to acquire the relevant information, and he explores all the parts of the screen where information is displayed.

From these assumptions it clearly appears in which way the analysis of eye movement during visual exploration can integrate the classical evaluation tests by providing information that is quantitative, objective and, moreover, can be related to the cognitive dynamic processes underlying learning.

The development and validation of this new methodology has two main outcomes. First, it provides a simple test for the evaluation of an e-learning system from the user point of view, second, from the results of the experimental part of the project, guidelines are constructed for the development of “optimal” e-learning systems.