Go With The Flow… of Eye Movements


Gemma Kane | 7th May 2019 | 3 min read

Riverr is part of the LAB Group, who are obsessed with human behaviour.

As a result, we run our own research to help fuel our passion for understanding the mind of the everyday consumer. The insights from our research are compelling, all of which are fed into the digital experiences that we create.

Our biometric testing allows us to not only understand what consumers are doing but why they are doing it. By recording eye-movements, facial expressions and galvanic skin response, we’re able to take a good look at the mind of the unconscious customer – the mind that makes the decisions.

It is known that attention is heavily focussed on faces within images and the direction that such people are looking. You can see this effect here:

But every once in a while, we unearth something utterly surprising…

In one study, we found that people were not only fixating on the people within the image and where they were looking, but also on where the person was blowing in the image.

This took us by surprise and sparked the question: ‘Is attention captured on the location of someone’s intention in an image?’

Humans are predictive creatures, continuously looking, planning and thinking about what’s next. What shall I have for dinner tonight? Where is the car in front going to turn? Where’s this article going? In short, this gift of foresight is one of the reasons why we have evolved so well as a species.

An experiment to ponder

To examine whether this was a fluke or fact,  we devised an experiment. Our intuition served us well; the effect was real.

Eye movements from 75% of participants were directed to the ‘predictive location’ within the images (after fixating on the faces first, as expected).

You can see this here – the participants looked at the face of the model and then, most importantly to us, fixated on where she was headed (i.e. her intention):

We call this the Predictive Gaze Effect. It has crucial implications for website design and the effectiveness of CTA positioning.

Harnessing this inherent attentional effect to position key information/buttons (e.g. CTA) may increase the width of a website’s conversion net. Why? Because customers’ eyes have now been naturally drawn to key regions – see another example below:

We’ve discovered many other hidden gems during our last few years while pioneering the consumer neuroscience digital space. Simple, customer-driven, behavioural insights throughout a number of digital touchpoints can supercharge your performance and take your company to the next level.

If you’re ready to dive into learning about how your customers really make their decisions, then we can give you a taste. Get in touch

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