Biometrics is a word that evokes futuristic ideas, something that is almost sci-fi. However, biometrics is already here and is a big part of our daily lives. From biometric passports to using our fingerprints to open our phones and measuring our heart rate while we run, the use of this type of technology is only set to increase.
For marketers and e-commerce, biometrics offer a unique opportunity to gain valuable insight into what your customers or target audience are really thinking when they are on your website. It’s a common human trait to not always say what we really think, and sometimes, a reaction might be so fleeting that it has barely registered. This is where biometrics can uniquely help define what the sticking points are in a user’s journey and help inform conversion rate optimisation and UX strategies.
Typically, biometrics track a handful of responses such as eye tracking, facial expression analysis, galvanic skin response and brain activity. All this is then analysed to see how users are navigating around and reacting to a website. The data collected can include:
Eye tracking technology shows what the user is looking at, what they don’t look at, what is distracting them and what they are attracted to. Generally, this is presented as a heat map. Historically, heat maps have been generated by following mouse movements, but studies have shown that the eye is not always looking where the cursor is situated, and for sites that are predominantly used on a mobile, a visual heat map has the benefit of showing a far more accurate picture of user behaviour.
Facial expression analysis
This clever piece of technology recognises emotions. Data generated by this can reveal what a user is feeling whilst navigating a website. This could be joy, engagement, frustration, disgust or any other emotions that can be interpreted. By monitoring this we can see whether a user is having a positive experience or a negative experience and hypothesise why they might be having such an experience, when combining this data some of the other measurements to see what they are looking at or trying to do at the time.
Galvanic skin response (GSR)
Galvanic skin response measures sweat levels across skin to highlight the intensity of a reaction or response. GSR gives an idea of when a user is getting stressed or exhibits emotional arousal when using a website. When pairing this with eye tracking, for example, we can see where and when a user is feeling this.
Brain activity, also known as electroencephalography (EEG), is monitored using a special sensor cap that is placed on the head to help measure brain activity relating to attention, excitement and frustration while they are using a website.
By combining these biometric measures with web analytics and other user tests, we can see an accurate and realistic view of what users are experiencing in real time. This means brands and e-commerce websites have valuable data that can take the guesswork from creating CRO and UX strategies.
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