SimpleUsability lead the field with running first ever consumer retail research project using the new Tobii Eye Tracking Glasses.

Eye tracking glassesObserving the consumer’s subconscious making decisions in supermarkets.

It’s been over two years since we were first told about a top secret product that Tobii’s R&D team were working on; eye tracking glasses with all the technology hidden from the wearer. I think the exact phrase used was “think Oakley’s meet James Bond”.

To date, all of the wearable/head mounted eye tracking equipment that we have experienced has been a bit cumbersome, with invasive head mounted equipment that usually relied on the participant carrying a laptop with them in a rucksack. The new glasses from Tobii change all of this. They are discrete and simple to use.

Tobii confirmed that SimpleUsability is the first company in the world to have used the new system for consumer research, out in the field, conducting shopping research in supermarkets across the UK. The new lightweight system comprises of a pair of trendy looking glasses and a small recording device that’s similar in size to a portable hard drive.

As a business we pride ourselves in conducting eye tracking studies that observe natural behaviour with minimal research effect. Head mounted eye tracking can be quite invasive – either asking the user to wear a cap or glasses with cameras mounted at the front, constantly reminding the user that they are being monitored. We found that research participants were more than happy to wear the glasses, which meant they naturally got on with their shopping.

To date, we’ve run a number of studies studies with the glasses for both actual in-store shopping and simulated in-store, where shoppers walked up and down projected fixture concepts. The SimpleUsability team are exceptionally happy with the system. The participant simply puts the glasses on, we quickly calibrate, press record, then clipped the recorder to their belt or bag and then sent them off to shop. Takes no more than a few minutes.

Once the shoppers returned from their shop, we just took out the memory card and with a few clicks imported the recording into Tobii Studio. It’s so simple. It usually only took a few minutes to import 45 minutes of eye tracking, allowing us to quickly get on with conducting an in-depth review of the  shopping trip with the shopper.

The big advantages this system has over other wearable eye trackers are:

  • Size and weight – it’s really portable and unobtrusive
  • No crazy head gear or cap – shoppers don’t want to wear caps or funny looking technology on their head. The Tobii system is just like wearing glasses and carrying a video iPod.
  • Great workflow – out in the field you need something that just works and makes sense.

We believe this is going to turn consumer research on it’s head. In the short time we’ve been using the glasses, we’ve learned a huge amount of detail about how the subconscious really makes decisions when out shopping. It’s a well known fact that over 60% percent of human behaviour is automatic and we find that eye tracking is the least intrusive way to observe it.

We will write some more articles about the Tobii eye tracking glasses soon and release some footage from our in-store research.