“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.

Thinking like a designer for 90 minutes

This week I had the fantastic opportunity to think like a designer in the Stanford d.school Virtual Crash Course at Objective Digital. Our consultants, Dave Hayes and Nirish Shakya had recently finished teaching the 12-week UX Design course at General Assembly’s Sydney campus. We hosted the recent graduates of the course help them to put what they learned into practice in 90 minutes! Being the curious psychology student that I am, I decided to pop my head in to see what was happening. Coming from a psychology background and having spent my entire degree practicing scientific principles of experimentation, I was pleasantly surprised by this experience.

What was it all about?

The D-School Virtual Crash Course provided a fun, energetic and fast paced guide to thinking like a designer. The course had a simple objective – to re-design the experience of your partner giving a gift to someone else (your partner being the person sitting next to you).

You get 8 minutes to interview them and find out about their past experience of giving someone a gift, their motivations, desires, likes, dislikes and anything else you could think of that influenced why and how they bought that gift.

“So tell me about the last time you bought someone a gift.”

“So tell me about the last time you bought someone a gift.”

We conducted 2 quick interviews each, the second one to dig deeper to answer more ‘why?’ questions. Then came the chance to think out of the box and think of as many radical solutions we could for their gift giving dilemmas. We then tested our initial concepts by showing them to the user. Based on their feedback, we picked one concept to prototype.

Quickly getting feedback on our prototypes but also having fun

Quickly getting feedback on our prototypes but also having fun

We made real life arts and crafts versions of those prototypes. Did I mention that we only had 4 minutes to do each of these activities? Maybe I didn’t stress it enough, this was FAST!

Rushing to find the appropriate materials. “How do I bring my concept to life??"

Rushing to find the appropriate materials. “How do I bring my concept to life??”

What did I like about it?

I particularly liked how similar designing is to being a psychologist. One of the most important parts of designing for someone is to understand their needs. This means you have to empathise with your user. All of those skills I learned about probing and asking the right questions to get to the core of someone’s problem – the same goes for designing.

I also really enjoyed how the fast pace nature of the course meant that no one in the group was judgmental, knowing that someone only had 4 minutes to re-create your gift giving experience means that your user is not expecting a Picasso masterpiece.

What made it challenging?

I found the very limited time given for the activities difficult. It was really challenging to find out enough information in a 4-minute interview. Also, I am terrible at arts and crafts! Trying to make a model of a prototype within a few minutes was very challenging. However, the limited time forced us to focus on just the critical things and not on every detail.

What did I learn?

I learned how important it is to understand the customer’s needs. It seems that many companies fall into the trap of assuming what their customer wants and what they need. Designers then make solutions for the wrong problem or problems that probably don’t even need to be solved! If only all the stakeholders could do this crash course, they would have first hand experience of why it is important to understand the root cause of customer’s needs and behaviours. Excel spreadsheets and funky charts can only tell you so much. To really understand people and their problems, you need to go talk to them.

Summing it all up

Overall, this was a very rewarding experience. I feel that even though I’m not specifically a designer, learning to understand my user / client is a essential skill for any job I go into. In fact, I think this is something anyone and everyone should try to do. It’s not just about being a designer for 90 minutes; it’s about learning to emphathise with the needs of the people you’re solving problems for. I would encourage anyone from any background to try  the d.school virtual crash course, even if you don’t think you’re creative or know much about designing. I’m not and I don’t, but I can promise it was heaps of fun!

“See the beer represents how food is an essential part of life and giving!"

“See the beer represents how food is an essential part of life and giving!”

Amanda Krulis

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 Amanda is a student at UNSW studying a Masters of Organisational Psychology. She is a new intern at Objective Digital and is striving to learn as much as she can about user experience. Amanda also loves spending time outdoors and skiing around the world. 

Eye tracking mobile devices – now even easier with the Tobii X2 mobile device stand

Our dedicated love on mobile devices

During my commute to and from work each day, there’s one thing I must not forget to bring with me. It’s not my train ticket or my wallet, it’s my phone, and without it I am lost. The truth is I am not the only one; people love their smartphones and other mobile devices. People are spending more and more time on mobile devices and based on the latest Flurry’s analysis, 80% of that time was spent on apps. But, the question is: on which apps? A recent study by Compuware found that 79% of people will only give an app one or two tries, and if it doesn’t meet expectations they’ll never use it again.

As marketers, it’s critical to understand how to engage your consumers by providing a better experience when they use your mobile apps. The great news is, we have just the right solution for you!


Latest solution for mobile device eye tracking testing

Our latest Tobii Mobile Device Testing solution lets you study how consumers experience mobile websites and apps and how they engage with any mobile ads on mobile devices. Tobii X2 Eye Trackers, paired with the Tobii Mobile Device Stand, provide a dedicated solution for efficient and high quality testing of mobile devices and tablets.

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Accurate, the solution delivers highly accurate data you need to test small devices, where logos, text and buttons might all be within one degree of visual angle distance and any compromise on accuracy can lead to the wrong conclusions.

Efficient, we can take the eye tracker to any location where it is convenient to run your tests, you have enormous options in recruiting participants.

Flexibility and natural interaction, the solution allows test participants to interact with the mobile device in a natural way, creating a distraction-free user experience. Users can take hold of the device, smoothly rotate the device between landscape and portrait modes, and interact with it from a comfortable viewing angle.

High quality data, suitable for both quantitative and qualitative studies that require high quality behavioural data. The fixed mounted high-definition (HD) scene camera captures the details needed to analyse small screens.

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We’re here to help you get on the front foot

Interbrand, a corporate identity and brand consulting firm, recently ranked Apple the most valuable brand in the world, it’s the first time Coca-Cola hasn’t topped that list since it was first published in 2000. The world as we know is changing and mobile devices are a huge part of it. Websites worldwide now get more traffic from mobile devices than PC, people browse 70% more web pages per visit. It’s time to get on the front foot of your consumer mobile experience and we’re here to help.

Click here for a quick video introduction to our mobile device testing solution!

Yoana Francisca

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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Reflecting on Steve Jobs & Apple’s Approach to User Experience

It was sad news that Steve Jobs lost his fight with Pancreatic Cancer last week. We wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the things that Jobs (and Apple) brought to usability and customer experience.

It is widely agreed that Steve Jobs designed “insanely great products”, many of which have revolutionised the way in which we interact with technology and create and consume digital content today. Many of these products could be described as ‘disruptive technologies’ i.e. technologies that were game changers disrupting existing markets. For example, the popularisation of the ipod and iTunes changing how we consume music, the Apple LaserWriter printer combined with true type fonts and PageMaker software (made by Aldus, now Adobe) started desktop publishing, making the mobile web accessible and sticky through it’s applications for the masses through the iphone etc. Apple products may not have always been the first of their kind but they were usually the first of their kind that were both easy to use and widely purchased. Whilst there were many engineers involved in the creation and design of Apple products, there can be no debate that Steve Jobs was an influential force in Apple’s successes.

In 1984 Jobs unveiled the Macintosh computer to a very excited audience which fast became the first commercially successful small computer with a graphical user interface and a mouse.

Steve Jobs introduces the Mac 1984

The Macintosh computer through its use of a graphical user interface and a mouse provided people with a mental model to understand how to use it through it’s metaphor of a desktop, folders and icons etc. It should be acknowledged that this new interface within the early Apple products revolutionised the usability of computers exponentially. Whilst many other engineers were solely focused on the technology, Jobs understood the value of considering the people you are designing technology for.This sentiment can be seen by the promotional material for The Lisa, the predecessor of the Macintosh, as “the personal computer that works the way you do”. From the iPad, to the iPhone, to the iPod, Jobs and Apple continuously delivered products that were easy to use and easy to love.

Jobs also understood the value of creating exceptional customer experiences. He infused Apple with a culture that valued design and cared about the details. According to Jobs: Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

This consideration of how things worked went beyond the design of products. Not only did Apple focus on the design of exceptional products, they also considered every part of the purchasing process, both before and after you open the beautifully designed box. Apple’s retail service has been meticulously considered and designed across the entire customer life-cycle. Got a problem with your Apple device? Make an appointment with the Genius bar where an Apple Genius will assist you. Need some help with how to use your new Macs’ inbuilt movie making software? Book in for some training. (NB The inclusion of software with computers too was an early Apple innovation). If you ring technical support and give them your serial number they will know your name and when your warranty expires. The personal service you get when you go to an Apple store and talk to a customer representative about your needs gives you confidence that you are investing in the right solution for you. It’s this understanding on the entire customer experience, the focus on ‘details’ and ‘how things work’ that make customers feel valued and create customer advocacy. Apple makes buying their easy to use products easy.

This holistic approach can also be seen by Apples’ investment and evolution of iTunes and it’s associated services and sister products. Through iTunes, Apple was able to develop a content and product eco-system (a Product-Service-System) combining their products with services, creating a lucrative business model which others are trying to emulate. Through a tightly coupled integration between multiple hardware devices, media storage, indexing, acquisition and consumption, Apple has all bases covered. With iTunes and it’s associated devices one can discover, purchase, download and then consume content in minutes, on one device without leaving your armchair. The fact that you can even purchase and consume media through iTunes on your PC is testimony to the fact that they think beyond just their products.

This meticulous attention to detail, a focus on how thing work, the requirement for well designed products, and the intentional design of customer interactions across multiple touch-points all contribute to superior customer experiences and unprecedented customer advocacy for Apple. Further, we can all thank Steve Jobs for popularising the idea amongst his business contemporaries that better design makes both sense and cents (well more like dollars)!

Steve Jobs was a true innovator, a brilliant designer who really understood what people need and a remarkable entrepreneur. Thank you Steve, you will be missed.

Jax Wechsler, October, 2011.