Websites’ emotional impact revealed by webcams

June 19, 2014 //By Julien Happich
Websites’ emotional impact revealed by webcams
A spin-off from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium startup GetSmily has developed a set of web analytics tools that correlate page views, mouse cursor’s movements and click-through rate with the emotional state of whoever visits the website.

Central to this new concept is the ability for the visited website to look back at the user’s facial expressions through a webcam.

Dubbed Emolytics as a contraption of the two words emotion and analytics, the new concept stems from academia, when UCL researcher David Frenay was developing very granular video analytics algorithms for the detection of human emotions.

Until now, the most prominent use-cases for emotion analysis remained fairly niche and didn’t make it quite out of the lab. For example in the health sector, emotionally-aware robots could adapt their behaviour to the emotional response of a person, they could help autistic children communicate their feelings, or find the most appropriate help scenario for the elderly while mimicking a human presence.

By enabling these algorithms to operate through a simple webcam, GetSmily’s co-founder and CEO David Hachez expanded these tools to a broader market. In Hachez’ vision, technology should adapt to humans, and Emolytics is one step in the right direction, taking human emotions into account for the optimization of web user interfaces.

According from market data provided by Hachez, 90% of brands and businesses design their websites to offer what they think is the best service, but only 8% of consumers would agree the websites offer an excellent surfing experience.

“There is a huge gap between what brands and what consumers perceive as a satisfying and easy to navigate website” says Hachez, “and by adding the human factor that is emotion into web analytics, we are able to reduce that gap”.


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