User Engagement Field Trip

The field trip we took to the User Engagment Lab Thursday introduced our team to a variety of tools that can monitor a user’s reactions and emotions. And which can give us a deeper understanding of how users are reacting to an interface. Many of the tools we learned about would be ideal for monitoring user reactions on You Tube. One in particular would be the eye-tracking software.

One of our current ideas is to introduce a “shuffle” feature which allows a user to watch random videos based on genres they select. With the eye-tracking software our group would be able to monitor how they look at the feature and give us ideas on how to strategically place buttons or build the feature. Since the eye-shuffle feature is also able to record the movement of the pointer and where it clicks we will be able to find “hot spots” of where they focused their attention and where they were most active on the page. Which in turn will also help us strategically desing our “shuffle” feature.

From the data we collected this past week it showed that 0% of people that took the poll were active You Tube social members (ex. used community features like blogs, contests, etc.) We could use this equipment to monitor why the users aren’t using these features and possibly try and derive a way to make the features more desirable to the users. One thing we could do is use the body monitoring equipment which monitored the heart rate, body temp, movement, etc to see how they are responding to the site and the features available.

The only down side to using this equipment is that it would have to be used in a foreign setting. Professor Bardzell brought up a good point during the field trip when he said that a lot of the studies are difficult to mimic because they are taking place outside of a normal context. His example was referring to seeing how someone reacts to a video game. He said that regardless of them bringing in an xbox and a nice tv. The setting was much different than what they are usually in. There is not comfy couch, they couldn’t get food when they wanted, they didn’t have unlimited time, etc.

So this would also be a big difference for those that use You Tube. Most of the time people are YouTubing alone. A majority of the time they use the site is when they are hanging out with friends and sharing videos. So if we do a study of the users we should do our best to recreate a realistic situation.

Overall, this was a really cool field trip and it was very exciting seeing equipment that could monitor the human reactions that it did. From the eye movement to the physical reaction. I hope that we are able to make a prototype that we can use in an actual experiment.

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