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How Eye Tracking Gives Insight to Embedding Design Choice

An interesting finding involving one of the ways in which people decide to take action, can be traced back to how long a person spends looking at each of the choices. As was reported in an article by Scientific American, called Buying Odds Increase for Products That Are Looked at Longer, shoppers within a store that are trying to decide between two items will ultimately choose the item which they looked at longest. By tracking their subject’s eye movements, researchers determined that items were chosen when the subject gazed upon the item they chose even just half a second longer. And this was the case 70 percent of the time.

Which Architectural Elements in Your Design are Time Sensitive?

If you think about this premise that what a subject gazes upon longest, ultimately plays a large role in how they make decisions and take action, then architecture has many places within which such a finding can provide great insight into how to leverage not only architectural design aesthetic, but also its ability to bring great value for its occupants. But one must ask…At what point does design for perception become design toward persuasion? And how can you as a designer use each to bring value to your occupants?

Think about this for such buildings as hospitals or schools, where so many decisions and choices are made everyday by people that work there, heal there or learn their. Then think for a minute about where within your designs you give occupants a design choice — like between taking an elevator, escalator or stairs. Might it be healthier for certain occupants to choose one over the other? And when?

In the end, this may be a primary purpose of an architectural feature that enhances a space, while at the same time being somewhat of a focal point. And when strung together, such architectural features make up the narrative of moments that lead to the choices that occupants make throughout their architectural journey — and hence, their decisions that make up their daily lives.

How might you incorporate such studies that give insight to your occupant’s possible eye tracking based behaviors, and the time they take to gaze at different architectural moments within your building? How might you use such findings to bring greater value to your occupants? Would you emphasize certain architectural features over others? And why?…To help them make healthier choices? To help them teach and learn better? Or to help meet your client’s overarching needs in more meaningful ways?

Image Credit: © erix! | Flickr

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