3M VAS - FAQ
While you are always welcome to contact us for more information, the following questions and answers may help you further understand how to get the most out of using 3M™ Visual Attention Service.
For more information on how to use 3M VAS products, visit our Training page.
You get 5 free trial credits that you can use to analyze up to 5 different images (one credit is used for each image analysis). Your results will be displayed as heatmaps with a watermark; for detailed image analysis and to remove the watermark, you'll have the option to purchase the full analysis. And you always have the option to buy full credits or purchase a subscription to 3M VAS. Sign up for a free trial now!
3M VAS is compatible with IE 7+, FireFox 3+, Safari 4+ and Chrome.
At this time, 3M VAS accepts JPG, PNG, BMP and PDF files. Each page of the PDF file will be imported as a separate image. For best results, images should be larger than 600 by 600 pixels. Ideal image size is 1024 by 1024. For image types that support image compression, please use high quality images with low compression ratios.
Yes. 3M VAS is a secure, log-in-only service. Every image you upload is accessible only to you and to authorized 3M personnel.
You should receive an email from VisualAttentionService@mmm.com within 24 hours of signing up. This email address may be blocked by your SPAM filter and/or may have been sent to your junk mail. If you do not receive the activation email within 24 hours, please Contact Us to let us know.
Silverlight is the application framework used to run 3M VAS. If you haven't done so already, please follow the onscreen instructions to install the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in. Note: To install the plug-in, you must either be logged in as an administrator on your computer, or enter the administrator password during installation.
No. 3M Visual Attention Service is delivered online using cloud technology. This means 3M VAS is always available and extremely dependable. It also makes your life a little easier, because you don't need to install any software on your computer, and you always have the latest version of 3M VAS.
No. 3M VAS is designed to predict all of the different parts of an image most people will notice in the first 3 to 5 seconds – which is enough time for most people to notice anywhere from 3 to 10 parts of an image.
3M VAS scans an image, and then gives each part of the image a score. Each score correlates to the percentage of people expected to look at that part of the image in the first 3 to 5 seconds. The scores can be compared with one another to demonstrate which parts of the image are likely to draw the most attention, as well as which parts are likely to be overlooked.
To make this clearer, let's use an example in which 100 people look at an image that has 4 parts (A, B, C and D). Say that everyone notices part A, but only half of the people notice part B. The other half notices part C, and nobody notices part D. The percentages would break out like this:
If you add the percentage scores together, you get 200%. But that's not relevant to this situation. Instead, you want to compare the scores to one another to see which parts of the image are "strongest" or get the most attention.
In our example, you can see that part A of the image has a score of 100% - it has gotten everyone's attention and so is very strong. However, if the goal was to draw some attention to part D, the results prove that part D should be modified, because that part of the image didn't draw any attention.
Note that the overall goal in VAS is not to create areas that draw 100% attention; it's simply to demonstrate which areas will or will not draw attention, so you can make design choices accordingly.
3M VAS has been proven to consistently match eye-tracking patterns for the first 3-5 seconds of exposure to images at a rate of more than 90%. To learn more about our study and evaluation of the tool, see the "3M VAS Validation Study" (PDF).
3M first began working in vision science to support improvements in reflective materials. Their goal was to improve safety though increased visibility. The team began building sophisticated models to predict what people would see in the few seconds when someone enters a work zone or any other new environment.
These models guided the development of new patterns and reflectors to improve visibility based on how the human brain processes images, to ensure that viewers will see the most important areas immediately.
This technology was then applied to scientifically understanding eye tracking patterns when applied to ads and designs – and the 3M Visual Attention Service was born.
For the complete history, see "3M VAS and Vision Science" (PDF).
3M Photo Hotspot is an obsolete product. This product was removed from Apple iTune in late September 2012. 3M Photo Hotspot was a general purpose consumer application that simply provides low resolution visual interest heatmaps for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod pictures. Hotspot results have been optimized for consumer snapshots and is not recommended for professional use.