The science behind UX: eyetracking

eyetracking visualizes how our eyes view information

Eyetracking can produce heat maps to visualize how we view content. Source: Nielson Norman Group;

Design is not just an art, there is hard science behind it. Googling the term UX comes up with the following definition: “User Experience (UX) involves a person’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular product, system or service. User experience includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership.” The science behind design and UX can be studied using eyetracking devices to help scientists better understand how we view and consume content online.

Did you know that there is an eyetracking lab at Clemson? I didn’t until a few weeks ago when I met with Dr. Andrew Duchowski, Clemson Computer Science professor and eyetracking expert. Continue…

Dove video experiment on beauty perception

A Dove video posted on Monday on YouTube teaches a vital lesson about how we view ourselves compared to how others see us. Trust us, it’s worth your time.

A former forensic artist for the San Jose police department met a series of women and asked each to describe the way they look. He had no way of seeing them behind a curtain. He prompted them to detail everything: hair length, facial structure, their most prominent features. He then sketched each participant from their self-description.

Each woman was asked before the study to get to know one of the other participants. The forensic artist then prompted each woman to describe the other’s face.


‘Generation Y’ Leads the Way on Smartphones

Who uses smartphones the most?

According to May research from Forrester, younger consumers old enough to have a bit more cash on hand are leading the way on smartphones. The research firm found that Generation Y, which it defined as consumers between the ages of 24 to 32, led the US in smartphone and mobile adoption. Nearly all Generation Y consumers owned a mobile phone of some kind and 72% owned smartphones. Nationwide 93% of Americans owned mobile phones, but just 50% owned smartphones, Forrester found.

And these younger consumers aren’t shying away from more expensive mobile devices. Generation Y is the only generation more likely to own an iPhone than any other handset; in all other age categories, Samsung either led or tied with Apple. LG, the third most popular mobile phone manufacturer, was particularly favored by older users, but was less popular with Generation Y than with any other age cohort.

Read full article here: ‘Generation Y’ Leads the Way on Smartphones – eMarketer.

Washington college instructors are ‘flipping’ the way they teach

In a trend called flipping the classroom, new technology tools and different approaches to learning are changing the way some college faculty teach their courses. That may mean turning a lecture into homework so more class time can be spent on practice and problem-solving.

For years, Scott Freeman taught Biology 180 — a gateway class — by standing in front of his students at the University of Washington and lecturing about biological systems, evolution and the chromosome theory of inheritance.

And Freeman always received great reviews from students, even though 17 percent routinely flunked his class — a failure rate he considered “gruesome.”

Freeman knew what was wrong: His students weren’t adept at applying information in a new context to solve problems, and he told them so. But one day, a student threw the ball back in his court. He just wasn’t doing enough to prepare her for the tests — she needed his help to practice.

“I thought, I am so busted,” Freeman said. “She is right. That still rings in my ears.”

Freeman is now part of a new wave of Washington college instructors who are rethinking the college lecture hall. They’re finding better ways to spot students’ weaknesses, helping them practice new ways of thinking and shoring up basic materials — often with the aid of new, easy-to-use tech tools.

Some are seizing on a relatively recent idea: “flipping” the class, by turning a lecture or other basic materials into homework, and spending more class time in practice and problem-solving. Other colleges are using the new tech toolbox to save money while reaching more students — a necessity in these days of steep budget cuts to higher education.

Students say classes that make the most of tech tools and give them opportunities to practice skills are still the exception, not the rule. But when done right, they make a course both more challenging and more enjoyable.

The new tools allow faculty members to home in on the areas where students need the most practice, assistance and instruction, said Beth Kalikoff, who directs the Center for Teaching and Learning at the UW.

“There’s every reason to be excited about it,” she said. “It’s student-centered. The reason faculty members are seeking it out is that it supports student learning and engagement.”

Recording lectures

A Thanksgiving snowstorm that paralyzed traffic two years ago prompted Guy Hamilton, who heads the biotechnology program at Shoreline Community College, to try new software that allowed him to record lectures and post them online. He set up his MacBook in the basement and began lecturing to his computer.

“The students just loved it,” he said, especially because they could watch lectures on difficult topics over and over. When Hamilton graded the final exams, he found his students had done 15 to 20 percent better than expected.

That was the end of live lectures for Hamilton, who now records all of his lectures and spends class time on group discussions and problem-solving. “I won’t do it any other way now,” he said.

Most of Hamilton’s students are working adults who already hold four-year degrees. They can play a recorded lecture anytime, even while commuting on the bus. And Hamilton can monitor which students watched the assigned lecture, and which did not.

Among the state’s technical and community colleges in the Puget Sound area, Shoreline is the heaviest user of the software that allows faculty to record lectures.

Many weren’t even aware that “flipping the classroom” is an educational trend; they’re just doing it because it makes sense, said Ann Garnsey-Harter, director of Shoreline’s virtual college and e-learning support services. Students like recorded lectures because “you can go back and listen again to what was said — you can go back as many times as you want,” she said.

READ MORE: Washington college instructors are ‘flipping’ the way they teach | Local News | The Seattle Times.

Homepage Optimization- is your site worth testing?

Can a few well thought out changes increase your home page conversion rate? It’s time to test your homepage optimization and see what causes performance changes. Marketing Experiments does a detailed write-up on how this company makes a few changes to their website and in return sees a 400% higher conversion rate.

We only have a split second to grab a visitors attention so the question is: What makes each person decide to stay and read more? Colors, images, layout, words, typography all play a roll in the initial impression. How can we, as designers, make the best choices for our company website to capitalize on these seemingly tiny design decisions?

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Homepage optimization

Homepage Optimization: Further test ideas for a page that converts 4 times higher | MarketingExperiments Blog: Research-driven optimization, testing, and marketing ideas
Live optimization sessions help marketers bridge the gap between customer theory and application. But even after a big lift, the testing (and learning) must continue. Read further to learn more about …

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How to improve email blast campaigns

Reshared post from +Erica Walker

How to improve email blast campaigns

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Email Marketing: 900% more revenue-per-email from’s automated strategy | MarketingSherpa
Batch-and-blast is often criticized, but is also widely used. sent generic emails for years, and saw great revenue, but noticed a drop in customer engagement, leading it to dramatically…

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Interactive infographic: A super successful case study

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Interactive infographic: A super successful case study. Only thing missing is the links to the companies actual infographics.

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Content Marketing: Interactive infographic blog post generates 3.9 million views for small insurance company | MarketingSherpa
As a smaller company with big competition, HCC Medical Insurance Services needed a way to distinguish its content. The company found success in embracing nontraditional and interactive efforts to rea…

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