The eyes have it: How Rothco focused web summiteers for AIB

By Owen Derby

Date: 12 November, 2015

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The Brief
AIB asked Rothco to create a compelling stand for the Web Summit, 2015, that showcased AIB’s backing of the Irish Tech Sector and Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland. They wanted an innovative hook you wouldn’t normally associate with a bank that would appeal to both the Tech Sector and FDIs and drive people to engage with their stand.

we devised a plan to check just how focused on technology delegates actually were.

The Stand
With AIB’s proof points as a backdrop, and 3fE coffee already on tap for the attendees, we knew business would be brisk at the stand. What we wanted to do was increase dwell times and engagement, allowing AIB staff to talk with potential customers.


The Hook
Knowing that the Web Summit wasn’t just about tech, and was also a highly social affair, we devised a plan to check just how focused on technology delegates actually were.
We developed a system that read live data in real time from the cutting-edge, retina tracking, Tobii Glasses 2, to record eye movement and dwell times in participants. We showed Web Summit attendees a series of images, each of which featured something cool and techy alongside something decidedly un-techy. Retina movements would reveal which item the person was focusing on most – and over the course of the test, show where their attention really was focused.


Why eye tracking?
Eye tracking is regularly used to reveal peoples’ behaviour in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and User Experience (UX) fields. Researchers can use it to evaluate and optimise interfaces and smooth out interaction issues. Usability and design are key for user satisfaction and business success, and retina tracking provides invaluable data about how people interact with new products. They’re also used in package design, in-store shelf placement, POP promotions and shop design, as well as market research and TV advertising. Rothco integrates eye tracking into product development to diagnose usability problems early on, saving on design process time and creating more powerful products.

many people were genuinely shocked with the results

Windows to the soul?
So what did ‘How Tech Focused Are You’ show us? Well, quite a bit actually. Eye tracking bypasses people’s ability to click or tap their preference. Most people, given the choice, would have clicked on what they perceived to be the cool image to get the desired ‘I’m tech focused’ result from the test. Bias like this is human nature and shows up in questionnaires and focus groups all the time. With retina tracking, there’s no escaping involuntary eye movements, giving us much more accurate results.


Did people measure up?
Over the course of the Summit, there were some common reactions to the test results. Although all in good fun, many people were genuinely shocked with the results, surprised they didn’t match up with their own view of themselves. Whether this says more about the lack of focus at the Summit, or people’s readiness to put their faith in the power of technology, we’ll leave up to you.


In total, we tested over 450 people over three days, approximately one every three minutes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the average age was thirty, although it was the under 18s who stole the tech-focused crown with a 69% average. Women just pipped men in their focused stakes with a 69% average versus 67%, with Sweden winning honours as the most tech-focused nation, averaging a whopping 84% (although, the Tobii glasses themselves are Swedish!). The most technology-focused sector at the Summit was the I.T. crowd, scoring 69% on average.

Further reading:

Tobii Pro

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