Friday, July 15, 2011

3M's Visualization Attention Service

I came across this very interesting services provided by 3M when I was searching for various Eye Tracking technology. Recently, I got to try Tobii's ( Eye Tracking technology which was super cool! It's cost factor led me to research other inexpensive methods that captures a user's attention.

3M which is usually famous for all their typical products has now come out with a service called Visual Attention Service. They claim that they can "accurately indicate what design elements people are most likely to notice in the first 3-5 seconds". Now that is quite fascinating that they can accurately determine what catches the users attention. The way it works is that you can upload an image and instantly the 3M's VAS will generate heat maps and hot spots (based on scientific methods) that provides other information such which elements will be noticed by the user in the first 3-5 seconds.

"The tool analyzes basic design elements such as colors, faces, shapes, contrast and text, to accurately predict which areas will attract attention in the first 3 to 5 seconds. The results show you the hotspots – and the not-so-hot spots – so you can easily confirm your design choices or alter your image to emphasize specific elements.

3M VAS does not measure the strength of marking messages or the emotional impact of a design – it goes straight to the heart of visual science to tell you where the human eye will naturally gravitate in the first few seconds of viewing. Once you're certain you've grabbed the attention of as many people as possible, your next steps depend on your own marketing goals and needs."

This is a great inexpensive (first 5 images free and then you have various subscription options) way to test designs in the early phase instead of using conducting a usability testing. This approach can be integrated early on in the design process as a very cost effective method that can generate valid data.

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