Saturday, March 27, 2010

Humintell Additional Training Product Review

This second in-depth review covers two additional training available for MiX 2 and SubX. The main differences are discussed and the high and low points of the products. A must read for those who have bought either MiX 2 or SubX but are undecided whether or not they should buy the additional training.



Additional Training Packages

MiX 2 Additional Training (profile view) and SubX Additional Training use the same user interface provided in MiX 2 and SubX. Both packages are essentially similar in most aspects, if only diverging in one is focusing on microexpressions and the other on subtle expressions. For this reason, my previous review on Humintell's MiX 2 is still relevant to these additional training.

MiX 2 AT offers 84 profile pictures at 12$US to train with while SubX AT offers 70 for 10$US. I am inclined to believe that one needs to buy the primary product (MiX 2 or SubX) to buy its additional training, but it is not clearly stated on Humintell's website. MiX 2 AT offers two set of practices, Practice 1 and 2, and SubX AT offers only one, Practice A. Lil' bit of inconsistency in naming but it's easy to fix.

There is no test in either packages and no way to earn any proficiency level. Strangely enough, the main page displays proficiency archived to none. I'd get rid of that.

There is no instructional video along with either packages. It would have been an amazing addition considering that expressions displayed are still two-frame based. The visual quality of some pictures is not as good as one would hope but the expressions are naturally accurate. For example, some pictures have a variation in lightning between the neutral and its expression, and there is even one picture that is literally displaced to the left leaving a black border on the right. Bit hard to notice when it flashes fast but it's definitively a distraction.

The shortcomings exposed in my previous review are still present in additional training. It is still possible to memorize by association faces and emotions. Nevertheless, there are many pictures available in the packages and one could still benefit from the training the first few runs. It is also important to understand that the more you practice, the better you become, and it's much easier when you've got material prepared by experts in the field.

Product Line Confusion

Some products overlap in feature and/or content and it's never clearly expressed on Humintell's website. For example, I believe MiX 3 is MiX 2 + MiX 2 AT and has very little to do with a new version. A simple table listing features and products would certainly clarify and help potential and existing customers to know what they should buy.

Additional Training Pricing

The pricing scheme is relatively acceptable and somehow expected from a research company. A software company would most likely set the price to 9.99$ and it would be great that Humintell consider such price or at least standardize additional training packages prices. Regardless, for those who have already bought MiX 2 or SubX, its additional training packages come as inexpensive and best pricing in the Humintell's product line.

updated! Online Service

The services is as always without any major hurdles and no down time at all. Unfortunately, lag can be experienced by moments while performing actions that require interaction with the server. They could cache images at the very least. Their approach heavily relies on AJAX technology, that is, Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, but in a synchronous manner — it is depreciated and requires to be slightly reengineered to make it properly.

Public Relation and Customer Support updated!

The customer support is as sharp as ever and the staff is very energetic. I have been in continuous contact with Humintell and its customer support is responsive to my criticism, suggestions, questions and so on. Customer support that cares about its customers, it can't get any better.

My previous review lead me to bring few suggestions and one has developed more than others. Effectively, I wrote a statistics feature prototype for Humintell product line and subsequently proposed the concept to Humintell.

It does not mean a company should implement whatever customers ask. There are many ramifications to each demand and sometimes some have to be prioritized accordingly. Humintell however spends time to seriously study my material. By the way, give feedback to Humintell if you are already a customer and you want to see this statistics feature implemented.

The Future of Additional Training

I have few suggestions that could eventually improve additional training in the future. These suggestions strive to be as low cost as possible for Humintell but highly beneficial to our training.

It is important to keep trainees on their toes while they are training. Bring the unexpected and surprise them. This is how a trainee will develop observational skills and anticipate without anticipation. For example, it would be meaningful to horizontally flip images in MiX 2 AT. Profile and 3/4th views can use this technique and customers get twice as much to train with for the same price.

Neither additional training packages offer post test but it may not be so important. It could be interesting to add practice images to the post tests of their respective parent software, that is, MiX 2 or SubX. This would provide a greater pool of images to test the person against, making the post tests more difficult without increasing the number of images the post tests contains. It systematically increase the value of a previous purchase and a customer will come back to train again in order to maintain their proficiency level; this significantly augments the customer value and overall satisfaction.

I can easily see more additional training packages for frontal, profile and 3/4th views. Humintell can expand their product line with as many additional training as they care to develop. Boundaries could be pushed further by offering a special edition with a celebrity, something not unheard of from a Californian company, and ask top dollars for it. Tim Roth would have been a great pick to capitalize on “Lie To Me” success but I guess this one is busted from the gecko and tied with Dr. Paul Ekman and Fox Television.

Conclusion

Additional training packages are worthy additions to your existing MiX 2 and/or SubX. They come with an excellent pricing especially in comparison to other products from Humintell. The format provided by additional training is very promising on both Humintell and customer standpoints. There is no major shortcomings adding to what is already part of the product line and you will enjoy these additional training packages if you did enjoy MiX 2 and/or SubX.

I highly recommend Humintell's MiX 2 Additional Training (profile) and SubX Additional Training.

1 comment:

  1. I have purchased MIX 2 and METT 1 products on Humintell's site several times - supplemented with Paul Ekman's books it has been and continues to be a great resource. Recently, I have purchased the SETT online from Paul Ekman's website and am working on this material.

    From a business perspective, I feel the downside to Humintell, is that originally (when I purchased Mix2) they gave you a life-time license. Now you have to re-new each module you puchase in a year. Paul Ekman's site has no apparent expiry date. I was personally very displeased with the change in policy at Humintell. In Mix 2 you can change your speed as you progress, but with SETT it appears you have to 'purchase' to increase your speed. In short, while I think they are a great educational company, they seem to be trying to extract more and more money from their users for 'features' that are not the core of what they do.

    -mike.

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