Usability studies are a fairly common part of the area of neuromarketing and the domain of marketing. They often involve a website or app and various possible changes or designs. The usability study is then used to determine whether changes lead to the expected effects or not or they might be used to evaluate a design completely. Participants are asked to partake in tasks or browse a specifically prepared stimulus while being observed. Often the results of the study are determined from recordings of the participant’s behavior. Two main technologies used in usability studies within the field of neuromarketing are eye-trackers and physiological sensors, like heart rate or skin conductance sensors.
Physiological measurements are a very powerful tool for social scientists. They allow for both the replacement and supplementation of the more traditional questionnaires by more other measurements, for example of excitement, heart-rate, stress and emotional state. Within the BMS lab, the shimmer skin conductance sensors and E4 Empatica watches are often used for this purpose. The latter is also usable as a fitness and movement tracker. Physiological measurements can aid in explaining observations and the classical self-reported measurements by providing an objective measurement to which they can be compared and related. A video or application that is reported to cause stress can be further analyzed by identifying where a participant’s heart-rate rises or their skin conductance increases.
The BMS lab has several forms of eye-tracking available. They do as the name suggests and track eye movement, gaze and stare. This means researchers can accurately follow reading and viewing patterns and answer questions related to visual stimuli. Both a version of the Tobii eye-tracker exists that can be easily attached to any screen (combine this with a screen capture device) or one that can be worn as a set of glasses. The latter allows for a wider use and even without the need of a screen, but is as a result more complex to analyze.