FORCE Technology conducts flexible human factors research in natural environments with iMotions.
FORCE Technology is an international technological consultancy company that operates in a wide variety of fields for the energy, oil and gas, maritime, manufacturing, and service sectors.
They also operate an Applied Psychology Department that provides consultancy and services for clients with a variety of needs, from in-store layouts, or driver awareness, to safety design, or maritime operations. They investigate questions such as how customers navigate their way through a store, how ship captains utilize the controls that are at hand, or how truck drivers’ attention changes.
The need for flexible, portable data collection tools
When they approached iMotions, the Applied Psychology team wanted to use tools that complemented and added to traditional methods that would usually be used in such studies. Observational or survey methods traditionally used in human factors research omits the possibility for detailed, unbiased and moment-to-moment data, so the team sought out biometric tools to aid them in their work.
They complement traditional survey results with mobile and moment-to-moment data from biosensors to provide objective findings. With the help of biometric tools the Applied Psychology Department is able to provide not only their knowledge as psychologists, and the results of traditional surveys, but also deeper insights to their clients thanks to an array of synchronized biometric sensors at their disposal. The team uses a range of hardware, including eye tracking (both desktop-based and glasses), GSR, EEG, and facial expression analysis (through webcam recordings). Each of these provides a different dimension to their findings, and allows for a deeper understanding of the participants’ thoughts and feelings behind their behavior.
“Now it’s not only us going into the field and observing something, but the client can actually see themselves through the eyes of the customers, how the customers look and what they don’t see.”Jeanette Juul Jakobsen, Psychologist Msc at FORCE Technology
The tools are portable, adaptable and mostly wireless, meaning that they are well-suited to experiments in the field, with data being sent into iMotions cohesively. For example, they have conducted studies of truck drivers that can be equipped with eye tracking glasses, showing where their attention is placed at crucial moments. Such specific and granular data allows concrete judgements to be made about the driver’s actions.
The resulting data can also be shown visually (for example, with the help of heat maps for eye tracking data), which for them is a compelling and accessible method by which to communicate the findings to clients.