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Emily D. Swoboda

Q.& A. | Catriona Campbell

18 August 2008

Have you ever wanted to know what's inside the mind of your customers? What do your users really think of your gaming site? A unique demonstration at this year's European i-Gaming Congress and Expo may give you the insight you need into creating the total user experience.

Foviance, a London-based digital customer experience consultancy firm, will debut during a morning workshop on day one at the upcoming event in Barcelona a new technology that uses a customer's psychological experience to adjust or improve a Web site's performance and accessibility.

Foviance's Emotional Engagement Technology combines electroencephalography, or EEG, technology with eye tracking technology to gauge a customer's emotional response to a product, advertisement or, in this case, an online gambling site.

The company has been involved in developing and improving the Web sites of some of Europe's top companies, including Victor Chandler, William Hill and the United Kingdom's National Lottery. It also developed Sky TV's red button interactive feature and worked with Microsoft in developing its Tablet PC software.

Catriona Campbell, chief executive and co-founder of Foviance, has been voted one of the top 50 most influential people in the Internet industry by Internet magazine. She was also one of 100 hundred people recognized for their contribution to the Internet over the last 10 years by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

IGamingNews had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Campbell by phone about the history of the company, the advent of Foviance's new technology and why and how the Internet gambling industry will benefit from it.

    Q: First, can we start off with a brief history of you and your company?

    A: I'm a behavioral psychologist and the type of psychology I specialized in after seven years was the form of human-computer interaction. It's the study of how users interact with machinery -- in particular, in this instance, digital media.

    We've (Foviance) designed all of Europe's and some of the United States' best interactive media. So, we're considered the top in Europe and I'm one of the top 50 people in the Internet industry worldwide.

    So, it's a very, very successful business because we make media so interesting to use that [a] business makes money and [a] consumers use it time and time again.

    Q: Can you explain the Emotional Engagement Technology?

    A: The science of human computer interaction basically incorporates a lot of research methodologies and a lot of technology to ensure that the design is optimum.

    So, for instance, we use a thing called eye tracking on gaming technology. And the eye tracking technology that we use ensures that we can understand where the subconscious-design problems lie.

    What that means is rather than just asking someone in market research, "What do you think of this poker site online?", what we're doing is watching where their eyes are going and where there's hesitation before they click, and then we can tap into their mental model that they create about the interface, and then design it to make it better.

    The most exciting part of the technology is that it's a world first and it has never been shown to the gaming industry before. It uses EEG technology in conjunction with eye tracking in conjunction with a psychologist, like myself, to fully understand not just where the pupil dilation occurs in terms of emotional engagement, but also where their electrical impulses in their brains are moving.

    For instance, if you're not at all happy with an experience and you're feeling frustrated, your EEG scale will look very different from when you're engaged and using a product happily.

    Q: Give me the top five reasons why people in the Internet gambling industry should come to your demonstration at EiG.

    A: This has never been done before. It's a world-leading innovation. No one's ever seen it before in the gaming industry. We've kept it so close to our chests for, like, two years.

    Secondly, we are absolute experts in this. If they're going to hear it from someone, they should hear it from us because we invented it.

    Thirdly, if they want to increase their bottom line then there is no more sure way than this because you are absolutely seeing quantitative significant data rather than just focus groups. You cannot argue with this data; you see it on the screen. I call it incontrovertible proof of design.

    Keeping a user happy and engaged means a user is going to come back time and time again and they're going to tell their friends about you.

    In terms of focusing on improving that experience this methodology is just going to blow away designers.

    Q: What do you do when you are not gauging the customer experience?

    A: I am writing a book about it and it's being published by Elsevier in a few months time.

Q.& A. | Catriona Campbell is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda