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Look into my eyes...

UX Brighton’s event yesterday was all about eyetracking and biometrics, and it was another fascinating evening.

First up was Graham McAllister from specialist games user experience studio Vertical Slice talking about theories around whether you could tell if a video game was good just by looking at a player’s reaction to it. This involved monitoring a users reaction to two games and rating them at one of five levels (boredom, curiosity, engagement etc) and then comparing these ratings to industry reviews of the two games. The tests proved to be successful and show that players reactions to games can tell us a lot about whether they’re enjoying them or not.

Next to present was Graham’s colleague who told us about the testing they’ve been doing with GSR hardware. This was a way of rating a player’s excitement and frustration while playing computer games. We were shown clips of people playing games and how the GSR levels varied when they were experiencing stronger (positive or negative) emotions. These kinds of tests are useful for getting an instant and unconscious response. These can be used to monitor the success of features that users might not consciously have noticed such as the difference background music may make to a game that might not have been picked up when interviewing gamers about their playing experience.

After a break on iCrossing’s lovely roof terrace to catch the last of the day’s sunshine we were back in for the second half of talks from human-computer interface experts Bunnyfoot. They were there to talk about the eyetracking software they use, Tobii Studio. Prior to the event the user experience specialists from Bunnyfoot had been eye-tracking some of the attendees while they were shown various pictures and given tasks. The results of these showed some really insights into how users/viewers react to certain pictures.

There were various different pictures all showing different ways people looked at them. These included: A Where’s Wally puzzle, a Spot the Difference round, a picture of a man and a woman in skimpy swimming costumes(!) and perhaps most interestingly of all two adverts with a slight difference.

It was really interesting to see the amount of information you could get from people without them saying a word. I’d love to get hold of the software (and hardware) to test the Wired Sussex site but I think the £30k cost to set bit up might be a bit too steep!

This was another great event by the UX group. Well organised, interesting and insightful (and free!). Anyone with an interest in design at any level should really come along to these events, they certainly won’t leave disappointed.

-Luke

About the author

Phil Jones

Hi, I'm the Managing Director of Wired Sussex, overseeing our strategy as an organisation and work to promote our membership and its needs to local, national and international stakeholders, including government.

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