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YouEye Raises $3M For Its Webcam-Based Usability Testing Service With Emotion Recognition

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YouEye, a usability testing service that uses a pool of screened candidates to help designers and developer get feedback for their sites, today announced that it has raised a $3 million funding round led by investors Bobby Yazdani, the founder and CEO of Saba Software and an investor in Dropbox, Google, Qwiki, Brian McClendon, the co-founder of Keyhole, Inc (which later became Google Earth) and Beth McClendon. A number of additional investors also participated in this round, which also includes a $400.000 raise from early 2011 led by Bobby Yazdani.

The company, which describes itself as a “UX lab in the cloud,” takes a different approach from other online usability test service. The focus for YouEye goes beyond asking users questions about a site and tracking their cursors. Instead, the service records the participants interactions with a site and tries to capture their emotions. The service is also currently alpha testing eye-tracking as another data point for its studies.

YouEye’s face recognition algorithms, the company says, can recognize over 50,000 micro-expressions and “can accurately show when a user’s facial expression aligns with several feelings, including happy, surprised, puzzled, disgusted, afraid and sad.” Companies that want to use the service can pick the exact demographics of the testers (age, gender, education level, income, etc.). Users can also annotate their videos. YouEye says some of its customers include Airbnb, Microsoft and Eventbrite. Here is a sample of what those final videos look like.

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Typically, these kind of studies are pretty expensive and can take a long time to complete, but YouEye’s prices start at $39 per participant (including webcam and audio recording, as well as emotion recognition data and written answers to post-study survey questions) and most results should be available within 48 hours.

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YouEye is also using today’s funding announcement to officially launch a new product: Insite. This service allows you to ask any visitor to your site to opt-in to participate in a usability study. Companies can then capture the full webcam video and audio from those visitors that opt in to these studies. For developers, adding this feature to an existing site is as easy as adding a single line of code. Users then see a little widget on the site that asks them to participate (and sites can sweeten the deal with a discount or other incentives, too.). The service is based on a freemium model.

Insite is currently only available as a limited beta, but you can get on the waitlist here.

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