Our readers may recall previous reports on the activities of Foviance, a hi-tech researcher into online user-experience that has developed specialised technology to identify subconscious decisions made by gamblers.
 
Still working with the 3D Internet poker site PKR.com, the company has released  the latest information gleaned from its eye-tracking Emotional Engagement Measurement technology.
 
This time the focus was on the presentation and structure of online gambling websites….and Foviance claims that it's findings challenge generally held beliefs in this area.
 
Foviance director Marty Carroll says that the research findings contradict the view that simpler, less visually-stimulating gaming environments attract ‘serious’ players, suggesting that minimalist, straightforward sites are in fact less emotionally engaging for the punters, leading to boredom and a shorter dwelling time on-site.
 
And much of the investment made by Internet gambling site operators to reduce the time and effort required to register might be ill-advised. “Our research found that it is more important that there is a smooth transition into the first game, including through the client download and cashier processes. Customers will be nervous about installing new software and will be excited about the game, so it is more important for operators to reassure them than it is to plunge them into the game as quickly as possible,” Carroll said.
 
The Foviance research has revealed that the five key forms of emotional response when using a website are cognitive attention, visual attention, emotional attraction, emotional engagement and an ‘apprehension/excitement’ index.
 
Carroll goes on to explain what these are, saying that cognitive attention is the mental effort applied to a task such as working out a website’s pricing structure; while visual attention is whether players are actively processing information or looking blankly at it.  Emotional attraction is the degree to which respondents are affected by stimuli; and emotional engagement is their pattern of visceral activity during the experience. The apprehension/excitement index is how people respond to specific incidents such as winning or losing a hand.
 
Carroll added: “The results show that EEM can dramatically transform how customer behaviour is understood. It can help companies to understand how customers feel about their brand, why customers pick one online retailer over another and how they feel about the language used."