January 6, 2009 (InfoPowa News) — The ever-innovative online poker firm PKR.com is helping to fund new neurological research in a bid to better understand consumers' online experiences. The research is being used to shape the poker site's relaunch, which is scheduled for next year. Working with customer experience consultancy Foviance, PKR is exploiting the benefits of science using electroencephalography (EEG) technology to gather information on poker players' emotional relationship with a brand or service.
EEG works by measuring the electrical activity in parts of the brain, and PKR is hoping to use the results of the research to provide its 2.25 million subscribers with poker that appeals on a variety of personal levels.
Early results suggest that for the novice player, PKR offers significantly higher levels of emotional engagement compared to competitor sites. Foviance was also able to identify the peaks and troughs in concentration, the areas that cause confusion for the novice player and the importance of the tutorial stages in engaging customers. This will enable the company to focus on what is happening at various stages of the game in order to improve cross-marketing and up-selling opportunities.
Simon Prodger, marketing director at PKR Technologies, says: "This method of user research helps us understand the all-important emotional experience that customers go through when using our site. This is very important to PKR as we aim to provide the most engaging poker experience online. Foviance’s insight has helped us identify how we can harness and develop the unique aspects of PKR's engaging and immersive approach to online poker to ensure that our customers enjoy the highest quality experience possible."
Foviance EEG measures factors ranging from cognitive and visual attention to emotional attraction and engagement, revealing the pattern of visceral activity during an experience. It uses an Apprehension / Excitement index to reveal how people respond to specific incidents and allows for comparison with other everyday activity benchmarks.
The service, developed in tandem with Neuroco, is available immediately from Foviance, which claims that neuropsychologists have shown that 85 percent of decision making happens at a subconscious level. The company has pioneered the use of EEG in the assessment of user experiences for commercial purposes. By recording reactions at different stages of interaction with a website — with emotions ranging from excitement and anticipation through to anxiety and boredom — the researchers can provide detailed and specific site design recommendations that improve customer conversion.
So far, Foviance has analyzed the emotional responses of online poker players, measured response to imagery alternatives on a travel site and identified effective merchandising strategies for an online retailer.
Marty Carroll, consultancy director of Foviance, said: "We recognize that differentiation in user experience for many brands means moving beyond simple efficiency, performance and functionality, towards connecting with consumers emotionally. We are incredibly excited to be bringing this complex neurological science to the marketing industry for the benefit of businesses and consumers."

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