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πŸ”¦ Tangible research

πŸ’‘

The majority of companies that design, manufacture or sell tangible products will, at some point, have to quantify how their users engage with products. Let us zoom in.

"Eye‐tracking is a valuable tool in cognitive science for measuring how visual processing resources are allocated during scene exploration. However, eye-tracking technology is largely confined to laboratory‐based settings, making it difficult to apply to large-scale studies." (Nature Communications, November 26th, 2019).


Current Stage

  • Tangible research is conducted physically and in-person
  • Geographically bound as interviewer has to be present
  • Time consuming, both for interviewers and interviewees
  • Mobile labs consisting of screens, computer, eye-tracker, etc.
  • Subject to interviewer's partiality and deviation of questions
  • Resources available limits the range and variety of interviewees
  • People with immature language skills are difficult to interview
  • Tricky to combine eyes' motion and touch of specific objects
  • Interviewees are typically taken away from native environments

Desired Stage

  • Conduct research of tangible products 100% remote
  • Get an inexpensive and scalable method to do this
  • Reach rural audiences and nuance the picture
  • Expand geographic and sociodemographic boundaries
  • Limit use and purchase of external and costly hardware
  • Eliminate partiality of researcher and align research questions
  • Be able to access children and disabled people on their terms
  • Decrease time spend by automating online guidance

Solution

  • Forward tangible objects and conduct the research from remote
  • Embed instructions to make it possible for the interviewees to do it themselves
  • Let the interviewees be in charge of the hardware as they already have it
  • Manage standards of hardware and geographic research area through a downloadable application that is country-specific and requires a certain operating system
  • Two cameras on a phone or a tablet can simultaneously track eye movements, areas of interest and touch of specific objects

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Design decisions should never be arbitrary. Though many have been educated in design, having design sense is heavily influenced by intuition. This intuition should be able to define the why behind every choices that have been made alongside the development of a tangible product. Most designers, product managers and CX-researchers have limited resources at their disposal to conduct meaningful surveys which makes it hard to truthfully say 'yes' to these two questions:

  1. Have we impartially quantified all design decisions?
  2. Have we exposed the design to a wide range of end-users to represent them all?

Whether it is product design or packaging design, it makes sense to make universal design as it will evidently serve a broader mass of potential users. One way to get access to these broader masses is through a scalable, remote and cost-effective solution that can objectively reap the many facets of conducting a thorough research as seen under laboratories conditions. An yes, that is attention tracking embedded within your application, making it possible to do as described above. Do not worry, it is literally only the implementation of eight lines of code, which you can learn more about here The tech stuff.

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As described in Value of vision tests with eye tracking, the technology can very accurately determine the distance of a user's pupillary distance, which, in combination with accurate and constant measurement of screen distance during a session, makes it possible to indicate a user's age interval. Ahhh... that is nice β€” now we can eliminate that "how old are you?"-screen from the research. Hypothetically, this could be combined with facial recognition already embedded in the new iOS-devices which could detect levels of wrinkles, head size, hair line, mouth size, and other valuable inputs to determine the age interval. What is important to underline in this hypotheses is that it will make it almost impossible for the interviewee to be selective about age, and vice versa, the interviewee does not even have to be confronted with this dilemma as the technology provides an answer automatically.

If you are not that familiar with attention tracking, you can find more information at β€£ and The New Possibilities. Ohh, and while you are here, you might be interested in learning more about how to approach the enormous, untapped yet highly lucrative market of Disability in terms of design, research and product enablement. Maybe you could get inspired and see the upside as many companies already do?

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Who could this be relevant for?

That is easy to answer β€” all companies that either want to or already conduct physical user surveys of tangible products. More specifically, companies that wish to understand their users' engagement of the company's tangible product offerings. Maybe to make current product lines better, more performing, more ergonomically or simply more visually digestible? Or maybe it is to test out the prototype and design of the company's forthcoming million-dollar launch? β€” you know, the new strategic cash-cow that is about to conquer the world and uphold profitability. Serving as examples of industries that is about to unlock great potential:

  • Toy manufacturers
  • Packaging design companies
  • Medical equipment producers
  • Manufactures of craft tools
  • Producers of electronic gear
  • Outdoor equipment maker
  • Manufactures of board games
  • Builders of music instruments
  • Disability products
  • ... and many more!

Your company might still be driven by a move-fast-break-things-mentality but if bad decision ground leds to commercial failure, it will undoubtfully influence the opportunity costs, as you could have directed the energy and resources elsewhere but an exhaustive product recall could also led to more severe implications, both in terms of PR and finance, which noone gain any value from (except the competitors).

That is why attention tracking on common everyday devices are such a valuable tool as it is 100% impartial which will reinforce management's decision ground, hereby decreasing the risk of failure in design decisions, behavioral analytics and user engagement.


Having more ideas that you want to explore? Feel free to Get in contact to establish clarity.