The Long Island University Usability Lab is a research lab supporting interdisciplinary research on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and related areas for understanding how people use information systems. Its main function is to inform interaction/product design based on human performance data. A variety of empirical methods are used to collect and analyze these data, including formal experiments (e.g. usability testing, “think-aloud”, focus group, observation, card sorting, persona design), ethnographic analysis, and participatory design.
In addition to research support, the lab also supports other areas of education including usability engineering, user interface design, research methods, and marketing research at LIU Post. The lab staff trains researchers and students to perform various usability testing techniques.
The lab staff also works with public sector and corporate partners to provide quality assurance studies for testing the usability of mobile apps, web sites, software, hardware interfaces, and product documentation. We are dedicated to informing design and service solutions based on usability testing and user studies.
The lab is located in the Research Lab Facility in the Palmer School.
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The Subject Station in the Usability Lab can be used for single-user or small group laboratory and field recordings. Two video cameras are equipped to film the subject from different angles. All interactions with the physical machine are captured as a movie file of interface and keyboard manipulations. All information is time coded to allow for easy review. The subject’s computer is a high-end desktop that connects to the Observer Station via network and serial data connections.
The Observer Station consists of a quad processing workstation with two LCD monitors that capture all video streams to storage. The system allows real-time coding by the researchers. A video feed from the Observer Station to an adjacent classroom is also included in the design. The Observer Station employs screen capture software (e.g. Morae) and data analysis tool, which allow for performing various analyses on captured data. Such analyses includes: behavioral coding, reliability testing, summary statistics, interval analysis, duration analysis, pattern analysis, and sequential analysis.
The Usability Lab has been designed in a scalable fashion to allow for future expansion. It has the space to accommodate research into usability of multi-media, multi-user, multi-location computer systems, and multiple remote monitoring classrooms. Additional hardware to support eye-tracking and virtual reality are all under consideration as part of the lab's future expansion.
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