Have you ever wondered how viewers respond to a particular movie or commercial? Does it retain an audience or do people leave straight away? Wouldn’t it be useful to know specifically what parts of a movie or commercial are popular so that your next video posting can be better than your previous?

Video Link: Humans vs. a can of Coke at high altitude

Within my own company, Applied Brain and Vision Sciences, we use StepForth’s web marketing savvy and tools like YouTube and Google Analytics to help us direct our own marketing approaches and help us identify market opportunities for technology development. One of the distinct advantages of having StepForth house my own company is our physical proximity to each other; there is a wonderful on-going cross-pollination of ideas and know-how.

Using The YouTube Insight Viewer Retainment ToolWe recently used the YouTube tool called “Insight” to quantify the success of one of our recent promotional campaigns for our high altitude research. The short-term goal of our project is simple: go where the oxygen availability is low and collect brain function and behavioral data. The long-term goal is a little more complicated. We will use the data to better understand how the brain works and how to develop better signal processing algorithms. First, however, it is important to raise public awareness about our project so that we don’t do all of this work in a vacuum (no pun intended) where nobody knows what we’re doing. Our means to raise public awareness was to create a video of us at high altitude that is exciting, humorous, and retains the attention of the audience. Read more…

When a graph showing an increase of unique Facebook visitors (March ’08 to December ’09) crossed my desktop at StepForth, one nagging question immediately entered my mind: Why doesn’t the number of Facebook visits have exponential growth? By definition, isn’t social media supposed to facilitate ‘Exponential’ — ‘Viral’ marketing, and shouldn’t the adoption of Facebook be a perfect illustration of this?

One conclusion: While Facebook may be ‘crushing’ the competition, market saturation may be close at hand (i.e. a growth plateau). Read more…

Simply stated, someone who studies human behaviour and the brain (a Behavioural Neuropsychologist) can help you:

(1) select the best participants for an eye-tracking study,
(2) determine the number of participants required,
(3) design the eye-tracking task to get usable results,
(4) design task instructions, and
(5) understand how study results apply to the target population.

Why Having a Behavioural Neuropsychologist on Your Eye-Tracking Team is a Good Idea

Dr. Philip Michael ZemanI’ve had considerable experience with eye-tracking: constructing an eye-tracker from spare parts, creating calibration procedures, writing analysis software, and using the eye-tracker in multiple studies. Although my background is in engineering, more recently, I completed a PhD combining engineering, biology and psychology to create new tools to study brain activity and human behaviour. Since completing my PhD, I’ve seen my fellow engineers, computer scientists, and web gurus struggle to obtain clear, usable results from the latest and greatest eye-tracking equipment. In my opinion, the crux of their struggles lay in what they don’t know about behavioural neuropsychology– the science examining the relationship between the human brain and human behaviour.  While I can’t quite call myself a Behavioural Neuropsychologist, I have trained with them and can describe some of the gotch-ya’s of behavioural research. This article describes why including someone with experience in the field of Behavioural Neuropsychology on your eye-tracking team is a very good idea.

Tracking Your First Eye

Imagine if you will, that an associate of yours has just lent you an eye-tracker and you’re keen on using it to optimize your web site. You want to know what people are looking at and you want to modify your web site based on this information. To investigate this, you sit a co-worker down in a chair in front of a computer and configure the equipment to track their eyes. Then you display your web site; the eye-tracker shows where they look when various pages appear.  It also shows where you co-worker looks when they stare blankley ahead, confused and perplexed, asking you, “What should I do?”.  eye

Making Eye-Tracking Data Useful

While you might have been able to successfully track a few eyes while people viewed a few web pages, the process of obtaining useful eye-tracking results requires some thought and experience. Considerable thought and experience, actually. My recommendation is that you find someone who has a working knowledge of brain function and has done behavioural research to help you obtain useful data from your eye-tracker. This article is about why this is a good idea.

Let’s assume that your goal is to optimize your web site; to get as many people who arrive on the site to make a purchase, or read about and digest an idea. Without getting into the details of what eye-movement and eye-gaze means, let’s focus on the role of a behavioural neuropsychologist in the design of the actual ‘experiment’ that will help you optimize your web site. Read more…