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Computing and usability lab

Professional facilities with expert support to discover how users interact with websites, online advertising and other digital media.


About the computing and usability lab

The UX lab usability testing facility is based at our city centre campus and is available for commercial and academic projects and provides services such as usability testing, observation, and evaluation. With the use of the world’s top eye tracking device, Tobii, we provide customised services and flexible fees to meet your budget.

Usability testing

TechSmith Morae usability software records on-screen activity, mouse clicks, and keystrokes, while Tobii T60 eye tracking hardware and software gives you a real-time view of the exact spot the user is viewing while completing an on-screen task. In addition, six webcams, remotely managed from the control room, provide complete coverage of users and target software. The testing room can also accommodate and provide video coverage of focus groups of up to eight people.

Control

The testing room also contains an overhead projector, desktop microphone, six overhead microphones and ceiling-mounted speakers for both focus groups and presentations. Clients can manage all elements of the testing environment from our control room, including lighting, sounds, screens, PCs, and all other equipment.

Post-test analysis can also provide heat map data showing which areas of the screen were viewed, and for how long, indicating the best areas to place key messages and which areas to avoid.

Observation

From behind sound-proofed privacy glass in our comfortable and fully-equipped observation room, you can monitor participants’ behaviour during focus groups or usability testing.

You can also view activities on a remote PC monitor displaying real-time eye-tracking data for a closer view of interfaces or images used during the session. In addition, we offer a remote observation option, allowing clients to listen and view the session online from anywhere in the world.

Evaluation

At the end of testing we provide a full DVD of the session, and will work with you to supply an in-depth report tailored to your requirements. As well as providing detailed analysis of usability results, including task analyses and eye tracking data, the report also includes recommendations for improvement.

Students in the usability lab

Why choose us?

  • Gain early user feedback, helping you to focus on the right issues.
  • Obtain walkthrough user evaluation.
  • Have complete coverage of test users and target software during testing.
  • Observe participant behaviour during focus groups.
  • Control the testing environment, screens and all equipment.
  • Gain real-time viewing of what the users are seeing and how they are responding.
  • Obtain in-depth, post-test analysis of user responses, including eye tracking data on areas of the screen viewed, for how long, and locations avoided.

Who we've worked with

“I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the fantastic usability labs at Solent University. We used the labs to conduct eye tracking research for a major UK high street retailer, and we uncovered some amazing insight into fixation points on email and display advertising. Not only were the research and technical teams extremely helpful in setting up and facilitating our research, but they also provided great support in planning and methodology.”
Adrian Durow, Founder and MD, Conversion Arium

"Using the Solent University labs allowed us to quickly validate our online flows with ease, and base iterations on knowledge rather than guesswork. The facilities they offered were top notch, with eye tracking and double room setups, and their team graciously looked after us along the way.”
Paul Davies, Design Psychologist, Etch UK

“Making tasks easy and intuitive is a necessary part of what we do. For our clients, on a project-by-project basis, we choose the methods and tests that fit our clients’ needs and budgets. Our clients’ customers are national and international, so it’s more effective to have relationships with quality labs like Solent University. With expert technicians and the ability to recruit participants quickly, we have successfully run a number of usability, UX and CRO tasks by analysing attitudinal and behavioural data for the likes of John Lewis, Westfield and Kenwood.”
Guy Stradling, Digital Director, ThinkingJuice

Gain real-time viewing of what the users are seeing and how they are responding.

Equipment

  • TechSmith Morae usability software.
  • Tobii T60 eye tracking hardware and software.
  • Six webcams.

Courses that use this facility

  • BSc (Hons) Digital Design and Web Development
  • BSc (Hons) Software Engineering
  • BSc (Hons) Digital and Technology Solutions (Apprenticeship)
  • MSc Cyber Security Engineering
  • MSc Computer Engineering
  • MSc Applied AI and Data Science

Hire the usability lab

Service level 1

Basic usability testing
£350

Package includes:

  • Hiring the usability lab and observation room for the purpose of usability testing.

Clients receive:

  • Full use of the testing and observation rooms.
  • Technical support staff on hand in case of any problems.

It excludes test design, participant recruitment and data analysis.

Service level 2

Intermediate usability testing
£450

Package includes:

  • Full use of the testing and observation rooms.
  • Technical support staff on hand in case of any problems.
  • Test design.
  • Participant recruitment.
  • Running the test.
  • Results provided in the form of heat maps, gaze plots and other media outputs.

Service level 3

Expert usability review
£499

Package includes:

  • Website review using industry recognised usability standards to identify strengths and weaknesses of:
    • Navigation.
    • Intuitiveness.
    • Visual design.
    • Accessibility.
    • Provision of practical, prioritised recommendations for improvement.

Service level 4

Full usability testing
£1000

This package is the most comprehensive service we provide:

  • Full use of the observation and testing rooms.
  • Technical support staff on hand in case of any problems.
  • Usability test design.
  • Participant recruitment.
  • Running the test.
  • Data analysis.

Find out more about external hire