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.

pin

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.

inconsistency

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.

q and s

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!

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
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  • Shopper Research
  • Marketing
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  • 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/

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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.

Free Tobii Webinar:Introducing the Tobii UX Live solution for usability testing

In this free 30-minute webinar we will discuss the value of eye tracking-supported usability testing and how to incorporate it in your development process. You will also learn more about the Tobii UX Live solution and how you can use it yourself when testing web pages and software.

In this webinar you will learn more about:

  • The value of usability testing and how to incorporate it in the development process.
  • The benefits of eye tracking-enabled usability testing.
  • How to set up and run a study using Tobii UX Live.
  • Overview of the Tobii UX Live solution.
  • Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions via chat after the webinar.

Audience and prerequisites:

This webinar is open to anyone who wants to learn more about the Tobii UX Live solution and usability testing. Pre-registration is required.

About the instructors:

This webinar is taught by Johan Koch, product manager at Tobii Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, and Tommy Strandvall, global training manager at Tobii Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.

Dates and registration:

Date & time: Friday, September 20, 2013, at 17:00pm Sydney time
Price: FREE
Registration: Pre-registration is mandatory: Click here to register.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Cheers,

Sheilah

Don’t bother me, I’m busy: Look through the eyes of your call centre staff

Traditional methods of user research and requirements gathering have long served us to help shape our designs. But as systems become more complex and users go beyond the screen, we are finding that it is getting more and more difficult to get accurate data on why our users, customers and even your staff are doing the things they do.

You customer sees a lot of things about you

You customer sees a lot of things about you

Often, it is difficult to get buy-in from stakeholders just based on verbatim comments from customer or insights based on the designer’s experience. This is where we’ve found eye tracking to be really valuable. It puts the science behind the hypotheses and clears up a lot of arguments.

Do you see what your customers see?

Do you see what your customers see?

Contextual inquiry has been a researcher’s best friend for a while now. It’s a tried and true research method which helps collect insights from the field without having to rely on the user’s memory or articulateness. But what users say they do and what they do are not enough to draw a complete picture of what’s happening. Many questions can be answered by where they look because the design of the system dictates the eye movements of the user.

Eye tracking helps you see what your customers see

Eye tracking helps you see what your customers see

Eye tracking enables the researcher to uncover subconscious eye movements of the user while using the system. Most of these eye movements happen without the user’s control or knowledge. More importantly, with eye tracking we can understand a busy person’s experience without distracting them from the task at hand, for example a call centre operator.

In a recent study of call centre systems, we observed where call centre operators looked at while serving customers over the phone. We found that the flow of the operators’ eye gaze on the screen was completely opposite to how the interface was laid out. This resulted in higher levels of stress for the operator as they had to constantly look for information on the screen and it was straining on their eyes as well. Even the operators and the stakeholders were surprised when they saw how their eyes were moving.

If you would like to learn more about conducting user research with an eye tracker, we have written a white paper on it that explains in more detail our eye tracking methodology and how you can introduce eye tracking into your lean UX processes. Download the white paper and drop us a line if you any questions.

GE Capital shows the way with a high-tech eye tracking lab

General Electric (GE) is a household name synonymous to innovation. Objective Digital recently teamed up with the User Experience (UX) team at GE Capital in Melbourne to help setup their next-generation eye tracking lab in Melbourne as part of their new UX initiatives. It was a lab that made even our experienced eye tracking consultants drool. So what was so special about the eye tracking setup?

Let’s look at how the setup was designed to ensure that every step of a usability session would run smoothly:

Interviewing

The eye tracking testing lab in Melbourne is where the action happens. This is where the user or customer comes in contact with the product. GE’s brightly lit and spacious testing lab meant that participants would feel comfortable. Since it looked like someone’s office, participants would not have to go too much out of their own normal working environment.

Traditional usability testing involves assessing the usability of a product by watching the behaviour of the participants. With the latest eye tracker from Tobii, the X2-30 Compact, GE are now able to see where the customers are looking at. The eye tracker is so portable that it evens fits in your pocket! This results in a drastic reduction in research effect as participants forget that their eyes are being tracked and display their natural behaviour.

Eye Tracking lab Melbourne

GE’s Eye Tracking lab In Melbourne

Mobile Device Eye Tracker

GE Capital also have a Tobii Mobile Device Eye Tracking Stand. For eye tracking mobile apps. It looks like this.

GE's mobile device eye tracker in Melbourne

Recording

Tobii’s eye tracking software, Tobii Studio allows seamless and simultaneously eye tracking and recording of the participant’s activities. Showing a real user talking about your product (e.g. how they didn’t notice a call to action or couldn’t make sense of the information on a page) is the easiest way to convince stakeholders of the value of usability testing and the importance of improving the design.

Tobii X2-30 Compact Eye Tracker in Melbourne at GE Capital

Eye Tracker in Melbourne research Lab with GE Capital

Observing Eye Tracking in Melbourne

Even better than showing stakeholders recorded clips of usability sessions is to let them watch the sessions live. GE had this covered with a big screen showing 3 videos at the same time:

  1. the stimulus with the participant’s eye gaze superimposed on top of it,
  2. the participant’s face to capture their facial expressions, and
  3. the fly-on-the-wall view of the testing lab to observe the things participants usually point at on the stimulus using their fingers.
Observation room for eye tracking in Melbourne

Observation room at GE Capital

Observers also had a choice of viewing the eye tracking session through a one-way mirror in the adjoining room (think CSI!). The room also had a live recording software which synced all video inputs into one.

Dark room with one-way mirror and eye tracking live recording

Dark room with one-way mirror and live recording

Collaborating the eye tracker

GE’s massive observation room also doubled as a collaboration room where designers, developers and other stakeholders can participate in rapid iterative design workshops while watching the usability sessions. This means that design changes can happen on-the-fly without having to wait for the findings to be analysed in detail and the big fat report to be produced.

Collaboration room

Collaboration room with multiple screens to view the sessions

Both GE and Objective Digital are excited about their eye tracking lab in Melbourne and looking forward to the new innovations coming out of GE.

How has your experience been setting up a usability lab in your company? We would love to hear from you in the comments below. Feel free to get in touch if you want to have a chat about setting up Tobii eye tracking usability labs in Australia, New Zealand or South East Asia.

Nielsen’s consumer 360 event

As a part of the inaugural consumer 360 event, Objective Digital partnered with Nielsen to showcase the latest in shopper research and technology. Held in the beautiful Blue mountains over three days, consumer insight gurus from across Australia and beyond took time to hear from industry leaders on a range of consumer topics. It was in this setting that Objective Digital was able to show off some of our eye tracking equipment as a part of Nielsen’s Shopper Lab.


Nielsen’s Shopper Lab

In a first for the Pacific, the shopper experience lab offers companies a chance to test designs and concepts, through actual and virtual shelves. They use a range of techniques to gain a deeper understanding of shoppers through “observation, interviews, eye tracking and neuroscience”. For more information on their lab, see their website.
Teaming up with the Nielsen crew has been an excellent chance for Objective Digital to show off some of the capabilities of our systems, including the glasses and floor stand. While I can’t share many of the details of our studies, I can say it’s been an absolute pleasure working with the Shopper team at Nielsen. Their innovative thinking and use of technology is something we are proud to be a part of!

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Lean eye tracking – making eye tracking quick and affordable

Eye tracking can be a valuable tool in the UX tool kit, however for some teams, it is perceived as being expensive and long winded. In agile and lean environments (where time and unnecessary steps are being trimmed out whenever possible), consultants need to come up with ways to make set up, testing and transferring findings as seamless as possible. In this post I want to share some tips I’ve learned over the years to make eye tracking both cost and time efficient. 

1) Establish clear objectives and areas of interest

Like in any project, it is essential to have clear research and business objectives. The same goes for what you want to get out of eye tracking. Make sure all the key areas and hypotheses pertaining to eye tracking are communicated before the testing starts. Ask your client to outline the following:
  • Which pages/areas are of the most interest? 
  • Are there specific copy, navigation or multimedia elements we want feedback on? 
  • How do we expect eyes to behave (any hypotheses)?

Understanding these questions puts the moderator in a good position to hit the ground running once fieldwork starts.

2) Analyse in real time

Too often eye tracking is sold as a sexy set of heatmaps. While these are appealing (and sometimes insightful), I find the most valuable form of eye tracking is in real time viewing. This form of insight allows the moderator to understand objective user behaviour and discuss immediately after. The moderator’s screen can also be live-streamed over the web so other members of the team can be a part of the real time analysis without having to leave their desks (or country for that matter).

Some examples of real time observations include:

  • What is being focused on (and what is missed)
  • Long & repeat gazes
  • The gaze journey
Eye_tracking_and_live_viewing
In my experience, real time viewing is more valuable to the analysis than any other eye tracking output. Remember to timestamp interesting behaviours and always verify your own observations and hypotheses with the respondent using follow up questions or retrospective think aloud techniques.

3) Streamline analysis

Finally, take time out of the analysis phase by using the software in smarter ways (I am using Tobii Studio). Create video segments (video clips) right after saving the recording and debriefing with your respondent. This works especially well if you have another consutant helping you or during the time your participant fills out an exit questionnaire. I usually do this in the following steps:
  1. Isolate segments quickly by using timestamps or by replaying the footage faster than real time. 
  2. Use the finding or observation as a file name. Do this for as many of the eye tracking findings as you can. 
  3. Add in relevant heatmaps and gaze trails (from your pre-determined areas of interest we talked about in step 1)
Heatmap

With these steps you’ve got the eye tracking collateral you need to make a compelling case for your findings.

Just like screen recording and online surveys, eye tracking is a great tool to help you achieve confident results. Incorporating eye tracking in to lean and agile environments doesn’t need to be an expensive and cumbersome experience, providing you have the right technology and approach. Have you found any tricks to using eye tracking efficiently?

Further reading: Lean UX and the dichotomy of being a UX consultant by Tim Yeo

 

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DAN SORVIK
Dan is the Research Manager at Objective Digital. When he’s not conducting eye tracking studies and uncovering customer insights he is doing DIY, playing Xbox and enjoying an ice cold margarita.