An Objective Consideration of Signatures and Forgery

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 3rd Next Bank Asia conference in Singapore. There was a lot of discussion about the future of banking customer experience and the need for simpler banking solutions.

One topic of current interest is the ongoing use of signatures as a form of identity in banking contexts. Brett King, CEO of Moven – a mobile banking startup, proclaims in a blog post that signatures are no longer an effective form of identification.

My PhD research is in cognitive-behavioural forensics  with a focus on signature forgery. We use eye-tracking, handwriting kinematics and questionnaires to gain insight into the signature forgery process. There are a few points about signatures and their portrayal that I believe are worthy of mention.

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Signature Forgery Research in Melbourne

It is important to understand just how relevant signatures are today. Try and remember just how many times you have signed something in the last month. Then multiply that by 12 to gauge how many things you have signed in the last year.  Understand that almost entire populations of people are doing the same thing! Signatures are VERY numerous and it’s a misconception to believe that they are fading away. In fact, there currently exists little, to no substantial  evidence that can statistically quantify this ‘dying’ of signatures. Claims about signatures fading appear to be fuelled by instances of medium to large sized companies shifting to other means of verification.

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Signatures are considered a behavioural biometric that we rely on for proof of identity. Unlike that of DNA, retinal patterns or finger prints, they are subject to change from day to day. It is this variability that has made signatures such an interesting and unique form of identification.

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Because signatures are physically produced and can vary physically, they can also be forged. Evidence from studies have shown there are a few ways in which to improve the difficulty with which your signature can be copied. These include increasing the complexity of your signature by adding more line intersections and turning points, incorporating atypical line directions and angles, preferably making your signature illegible and being physically consistent when you write it! However, properly forging signatures is not as easy as you might believe. There are many established typical tell-tale signs of a forgery, which are difficult for forgers to avoid and relatively easy to detect.

I was having a chat with Louise Long from NAB and she mentioned some work she had been assigned involved checking the signatures produced in the bank (for verification purposes). The process of checking signatures for verification purposes is one that also occurs everyday in places like stores and banks. However, the process of verifying signatures is much more complicated that people assume, particularly without a fundamental understanding of the theory underpinning signatures and their examination. One useful tip is that there tends to be a trade-off between line quality and spatial quality when someone forgers a signature. This means that line tremor (or poor line quality) can therefore be used as an indicator of a forgery. However, this is not always the case, and that’s why signature examination can be such a difficult task!

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Line quality difference typical of signature forgeries

It should be noted that only professional signature examiners called forensic document examiners are properly qualified to provide opinions about the proposition that a signature is the process of a forgery, or not. So if your working at a bank or supermarket and are unsure whether two signatures ‘match’, don’t feel bad if its difficult to determine – remember, signatures are usually quite physically variable! This is why when a dispute arises, handwriting experts are usually called upon.

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Often when people talk about signatures, broad statements attempting to explain a magnitude of issues are asserted without consideration of finer points. A distinctions between signatures’ effectiveness as a form of proof of identity and signatures’ convenience as a form of proof of identity (from a user experience point of view) should be made. In addition, the security behind signing verses other forms of verification is again a separate topic.

Without going into too much detail about the reasons why signatures are still so widely used today (such as convenience and technological infrastructure), it could be argued that perhaps signatures will eventually one day be replaced (in most contexts) by more robust biometrics that are not susceptible to variation. All factors considered, signatures are probably still the best forms of identification we currently have access to. If they weren’t, we probably wouldn’t be using them so readily. Although, there are examples of companies and institutions making innovative movements, such as the shift toward the use of pins instead of signatures (e.g. see Commonwealth bank), this is a very minute percentage of signings when considered on a global scale.

It also shouldn’t be overlooked that unlike signatures, pins can be forgotten and pins can also be stolen. So for now, if you’ve ever been worried about the security of your signature, the least you can do is attempt to make it more forge-proof (for more information, see my other post on how to protect your signature against forgery).

For further insight about what the future might hold for signatures, I’d recommend reading Developments in Handwriting and Signature Identification in the Digital Age

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Objective Asia presents at Next Bank Asia Singapore 2014 (NBASG14)

Yesterday, James Breeze; CEO and founder of and Objective Asia and Objective Digital gave a presentation on the concept of ‘build’ with a focus a on user experience at the Next Bank Asia conference 2014 in Singapore.

James Breeze Objective Digital from NextBank on Vimeo.

James presented on the importance of customer experience, with emphasis that Asia should continue to build and develop their customer experiences in this rapidly changing world.
James gave some key examples of how eye-tracking greatly enhances the quality of customer experience research, particularly when that research can be conducted in store using portable eye-tracking glasses, or data is provided to clients in real-time during user testing for immediate integration.

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Objective Asia also flexed some of their latest Tobii eye-tracking set-ups at the conference, which allow for eye-tracking of mobile and tablet users – the emerging leading platforms since the home PC, and of which now give even the laptop a run for its money.

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Given the worldwide shifts toward ‘mobile banking’, a large amount of interest was generated, as the banks are now understanding the importance of high-level customer experience research.

Objective Asia continues to build new relationships and enhance existing relationships in Asia and remains an active player in helping maintain a high-level standard of customer experience in this world of technological change.

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Special thanks to NBASG14, well done James Breeze and congratulations Objective Asia!

Mobile Banking: Who has improved app usability and, surprisingly, how many haven’t

Seventy three percent of Australians aged 15-65 own a smartphone. 65% used their smartphone everyday over the past week and 77% don’t leave the home without their device. With the rise of mobile usage it’s no wonder some of Australia’s leading banks are now making the mobile customer experience a priority (Frost & Sullivan Australian Mobile Device Usage Trends 2013).

However, since releasing our incredibly popular mobile banking app usability white paper in August 2013, it is surprising to see how little has changed in the Australian mobile banking app market!

The CommBank mobile banking app is one banking application leading the way in not only giving customers the ability to manage their finances while on the go, but helping users in making it a usable, seamless, easy and quick process. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Optional Transfers Customers have the option to make payments to a friend via Facebook, mobile number or their friend’s email address through the CommBank app. All the recipient needs is an Australian BSB and account number. Existing Commonwealth Bank customers will receive the funds directly into their account. Ensuring no-one is left out, anyone who is not a Commonwealth Bank customer will receive a text notification and a code from the sender to retrieve funds.

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CommBank’s mobile banking app, transfers, May 2014

2. On-the-Go payments using NFC or PayTag CommBank has been one of the fastest movers on allowing customers to pay on-the-go using either NFC (near field communication) or their recently introduced PayTag technology. A PayTag will cost customers $2.99 and sticks to the back of the mobile phone, working just like a credit card for tap-and-go payments. The PayTag is simple to install using on screen instructions, and is used by just tapping your phone as you would with a credit card.

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PayTag for iPhones

3. Cards Top-Up Easily top your cards up while on the go. This is a particularly useful feature when using travel cards and need to quickly access accounts to transfer money to your Commonwealth Bank travel cards all in one place within the app. Once navigated to the “top up” feature, large credit card images are visually displayed on screen accompanied by a large “top up” button where customers can simply “top up” from one card to another.

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CommBank’s Card Top-up, May 2014

4. Transfer between accounts Vertical scrolling wheel to select accounts for transfer ensuring there is minimal user input to complete the task. Only relevant information is visible on screen keeping design minimal, user friendly and removing the possibilities for user errors or confusion.

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Transfer between accounts, May 2014

5. Usability and overall user experience The most common tasks performed by users are now visible with a clear call to action on the launch screen. As users have limited time and generally be on-the-go, it is important to consider the context in which the mobile app is used. CommBank does a nice job of bringing these common tasks like account transfers, payments and tap and pay forward for their customers, whilst still keeping all app functions easily accessible through the main hamburger menu (top right).

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Launch Screen (left) and Navigation (right), May 2014

The mobile payment space may have started out somewhat slower than expected from Australia’s leading banks, however, with the ever-increasing rise in mobile use, together with customers demanding quick and usable payment solutions this is sure to change. This is evident with many of Australia’s leading banks currently releasing and/or testing new mobile payment solutions for their customers. The examples provided show CommBank leading the way with updated features and usability making everyday tasks easier for their customers.

It has never been more important to be considering the user experience of the product by researching and testing new solutions and designs with customers to evaluate how, when and why they may or may not use their mobiles for payment and everyday banking.

Providing customers with an accessible, easy and useful mobile payment experience can go a long way in, not only ensuring they continue to use it, but that they will be one of your strongest advocates.

So do you have a product or service you want to put in front of your customers? Find out about all your usability testing options and contact us for a quote!

Myles Clemones – UX Consultant

Sydney Research Network – Objective’s in-house recruitment agency

We welcome Michelle Brandwood, who joins us as Recruiting Manager. Objective Digital’s in-house recruitment agency, Sydney Research Network, lists well over 2000 participants allowing for rapid and efficient recruitment of participants based on demographic and lifestyle segmentation criteria. Recruitment being an in-house activity ensures a rigid process of quality management by ensuring a fresh source of participants for market research; not relying on single existing database.

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Michelle Brandwood, Recruitment Manager at Sydney Research Network

Omni-Channeling & Coffee

Omni-Channeling & Coffee – Takeaways from POPAI Professional Development breakfast seminar

On Tuesday (4th March), the Objective Digital team woke up early to attended POPAI’s latest seminar in its Professional Development series. Nick Salem – the ANZ Retail and Commerce Leader for IBM – revealed the high-level findings and insights from the IBM Institute for Business Value Global Consumer Study. While Zita Watkins (Marketing Manager at Active Display Group) told of her German adventures to the 2014 Euro-shop trade fair in Dusseldorf, and visits to other innovative retail stores around Berlin.

 IBM Global consumer study

The latest IBM Global consumer study – Greater Expectations – Consumers are asking for tomorrow, today – looked at consumer trends around the world and the new retail era. Advances in technology are changing the way customers shop for and purchase products, in turn, setting omni-channel expectations by digital-savvy shoppers. The survey identified the 5 key capabilities that shoppers expect from today’s retailers:

  • Price consistency across shopping channels
  • Ability to ship items that are out of stock in the store directly to the home
  • Option to track the status of an order
  • Consistent product assortment across channels
  • Ability to return online purchases in the store

These findings have been in par with previous research conducted by Objective Digital. The Objective Digital Mobile Grocery App review found consumers wanting product information, price and availability to be made available on mobile grocery apps to allow them to make equivalent informed decisions, as if they were shopping in-store. Ultimately, the ability of retailers to meet the needs (including the digital needs) of their customers becomes the deciding factor for where consumer’s want to shop.

 Euro-shop trade fair & other innovative retail experiences

The remainder of the seminar was dedicated to the latest industry insights direct from Euro-shop trade fair 2014 and other innovative retail experiences around Berlin. One trend that resonated through many innovative retail stores was the blending of retail and cafes. It seems many European grocery and non-grocery retails are starting to appreciate the benefits of setting up full-size coffee shops in their stores, adding a new dimension to the retail experience. The result is a mix of shopping and social interaction; encourage more traffic and longer visits. 

Microsoft’s “Digital Eatery” in Berlin, for example, is a café-showroom, which offers customers the chance to test out Microsoft gadgets while getting a taste of locally sourced food. Customers can’t purchase any products, but rather test Microsoft hardware and software onsite, in one of their themed areas – “at home”, “en route”, “in the office”, and “music lounge”. It’s a way for Microsoft to begin exchanging dialogue with their customers and understand how customers use their products within the context of their environment. 

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The idea of blending two different experiences, with a focus that extends beyond retail products is starting to take hold in Australian retail stores. The Woolworths concept store in Woolloomooloo incorporates a café area with bookshleves in the middle of the grocery store. Other new initiatives also includes a beauty bar and full time professional beauty consultants in its Town Hall Store. 

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Cultural Kings provides another example of adding an innovative dimension to the retail experience. World famous for its street wear and apparel, it also claims to offer its customers the “freshest shopping experience”. Retail stores regularly have DJs playing live music in-store and offer an in-store barbershop. The store doesn’t take appointments, but encourages customers to grab a ticket and wait for their turn. With a whole room of the latest fashion covering each wall of the store, it’s a clever way to get customers to browse whilst they wait. 

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In today’s competitive markets, it is imperative that retailers shift their strategic focus and harness new opportunities to serve their customers in ways that go beyond the traditional exchange of goods.

 How can Objective Digital help design your customer’s experience?

 

Eye Tracker Sales, Rental, Training and Consulting in South East Asia

Objective Eye Tracking has been formally been signed up as a reseller for Tobii Eye Tracking SE ASIA!

Please email jbreeze@objectiveeyetracking.com for assistance or call +65 8201 7285.

Objective Eye Tracking Asia

Buy eye tracker in these SE Asia countries

Visit our International websites! We offer sales, training, support and consulting across SE Asia in areas including eye tracking in:

  • Digital
  • Mobile
  • Website
  • Shopper Research
  • Marketing
  • Retail
  • Driving
  • Advertising.

Eye Tracker in Australia and New Zealand –  Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland, Wellington – http://www.objectiveeyetracking.com/

Eye Tracker in Singapore – http://www.objectiveeyetracking.com/

Eye Tracker in Philippines – http://www.objectiveeyetracking.com/ph/

Eye Tracker in Indonesia – www.objectiveeyetracking.co.id

Eye Tracker in Malaysia – http://www.objectiveeyetracking.com.my/

Eye Tracker in Vietnam – http://www.objectiveeyetracking.com.vn/

Eye Tracker in Thailand – http://www.objectiveeyetracking.com/th/

Eye Tracking Consultant Sales Rental Training

Multi-platform testing – the answer to omni-channel CX

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The omni-channel experience

Omni-channel” is the new buzzword being tossed around. But what does it actually mean? And how do you begin to develop an omni-channel strategy?

With the rise of Near Field Communication (NFC) and mobile phone usage in-store, consumers are increasingly embracing digital technologies and devices in all stages of their buying journey. This integration of digital into off-line shopping behaviour means customers experience a brand, rather than a channel within a brand. In response, companies are designing omni-channel strategies to deliver a seamless approach to the customer experience across multiple touch points. It’s about true continuity of the customer experience.

An article published in The Wall Street Journal (Jan, 2014) says “retailers are still struggling with omni-channel strategies” – and Australian companies are no different. If a company wants to start thinking about the omni-channel experience, they need to be open and involved in making their customers’ experience continuous and universal. To do this, you need to start understanding why and how your customers integrate different customer touch points into their buying journey.

To meet the demands of our clients, Objective Digital has deployed a multi-platform testing methodology. Conducting usability testing with eye-tracking on multiple devices, rather than individually, can create more knowledgeable insights into your customer’s omni-channel experience. A move to multi-platform testing with users allows our clients to better understand how their consumers experience their brand rather than the interaction with a single channel.

Objective Digital was recently commissioned by a one of Australia’s leading Internet betting and entertainment website. As an online organisation, one of their research objectives was to understand how their multiple platforms integrated together, and what type of omni-channel customer experience they were creating. In response, we deployed our multi-platform testing methodology to investigate which device – desktop, mobile, or tablet – was producing a more efficient customer experience at different points of the online betting journey.

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Multi-platform testing set-up

Participants were tested and eye-tracked on two devices (desktop, mobile, or tablet) across four key tasks. Each task was scored against a set of quantitative measures. This was followed by qualitative questions to understand the user’s experience with the different devices. At the completion of the project, we had compiled qualitative, quantitative, and eye-tracking data on each of the four tasks across the three devices. This painted a clear picture of how customers where engaging with the Online Betting agency across its different channels.  From here, we made recommendations on how our client could improve certain channels and leverage others depending on their customers’ expectations and needs.

The philosophy of omni-channel is simple, however the execution of omni-channel strategies has been mediocre at best. In order to accomplish this migration to being omni-channel, companies must have complete visibility of how their users mitigate their multiple touch points and channels. Part of what we are doing as customer experience consultants is filling that omni-channel gap for our clients.

Combining Contextual Inquiry with Eye Tracking

With technology becoming more and more complex, it is key to understand how actual users interact with challenging applications. Observing users work with these systems while at work or home is bound to yield rich qualitative data.

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Objective Digital’s article, “Combining Contextual Inquiry with Eye Tracking” in UX Magazine describes how eye tracking call center operators revealed some pretty amazing insights. It revealed how a stressful environment coupled with an ineffective interface can result in bigger issues, like poor customer satisfaction and high staff turnover.

Needless to say, the findings from the eye tracking analysis put a lot of arguments to rest and were the basis for the design decisions for the systems improvement.

“I finally get it!” – Eye Tracking

Next Bank Sydney 13 brought banking experts from around the World to a wonderful venue in The Rocks, Simmer by the Bay.  As a speaker, I was set a challenge by Rob Findlay, Next Bank Founder, “Shake it up”. So I did. Next Bank Sydney Logo

Instead of my run-of-the-mill presentation, I fearfully told a story about the things that piss me off in banking and the broader enterprise marketing realm and how eye tracking can dramatically improve the situation. I really want to help people discover that:

  • Data from poor market research methods add no value to business decisions and are ignored by senior execs
  • Understanding human unconscious is critical in marketing and no, you don’t know much about what really drives your customers. Certainly nothing about how or why they do what they do.
  • Marketing budgets are simply wasted if no-one looks at your stuff and this is avoidable.
  • A shit ad is a shit ad, no matter where you stick it.

My presentation was a resounding success and at the end a client of 6 years approached me and said, “You know I have worked with you for more than 6 years and only now do I really understand eye tracking!”

Here’s my presentation, enjoy and let me know what you think?

Here’s the slides with text for your reading pleasure.

Objective Measures of our Subconscious

The brain processes 400 billion bits of information a second. BUT, we are ONLY aware of 2,000 of those.” (Dr. Joseph Dispenza)

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At any given moment, our brain is receiving a great deal of visual information from our surrounding environment – changes in visual space, colours, shapes, and movement of objects. We take in so much visual information that our brain selectively filters out unimportant visual data and stores it in our subconscious memory.

Not to be dismissed, the subconscious mind has a great impact on our decision-making, thoughts, and behavior. Whether its browsing a website, glancing at an advertisement, or navigating a shopping aisle, visual information filtered into our subconscious memory influences how we react in these environments.

If the subconscious mind affects a person’s behavior with, or perceptions of, an environment (either physical or virtual), then it makes sense to understand it. In this instance, traditional research methods, such as focus groups, depth interviews, surveys, digital analytics, accompanied shops and intercepts, are limited in helping us understand subconscious reactions and behaviors. So, how do we measure the subconscious?

Our eyes process approximately 300 frames per second – processing visual information at every point. By measuring where someone is looking at each frame, allows us to detect elements in the environment that people visually perceive but may not be able to recall or remember – this is what our brain has processed into subconscious memory.

Eye tracking, as a research technique, enables us to measure each individual point at which our brain processes a piece of visual information. Replaying people’s eye movements back to them (a research method known as Retrospective Think Aloud) assists people to become consciously aware of these elements – that is, bringing these elements back into consciousness.

Shopping, for example, is largely a subconscious process, where behavior unfolds as a result of perception of visuals and other cues in the environment. By using eye tracking, we are able to objectively measure how customers respond to these cues, which our brain often filters into the unconscious mind. In such instances, eye tracking has enabled us to capture both the conscious and unconscious response to visual stimuli and provide deeper customer insights and understanding.

Incorporating eye tracking into research studies involving human interactions with systems or environments has allowed us greater insight into people’s subconscious. More importantly, eye-tracking data has provided an objective and more detailed view of actual behavior.

Objective Digital are leaders in using eye tracking technology to uncover unconscious insights which can be decoded to improve the customer experience. Having worked with large financial institutions, telco’s, retailers, travel companies, government bodies and universities, our team is equipped with a wealth of knowledge across all aspects of customer experience.