The Usability Lab

The Usability Laboratory here at Manchester Metropolitan University is a facility designed to capture and analyse human behaviour as we interact with a host of technological devices including computers, mobile devices and video game consoles.

The benefits of this type of analysis include an enhanced user experience, streamlined design and development process and improvements in efficiency and profitability.

The Laboratory is perfectly placed to support the design, development and assessment of wide range software and hardware and can support:

Focus group based design

  • Full User Experience and Usability analysis
  • Eye tracking (for Web site assessment etc)
  • User Centred Design (including formative and summative assessment).

Those who might benefit from using the Laboratory include digital media marketing companies, web site and video game developers, those building business applications, and developing and designing technology based systems.

The Laboratory comprises an Observation Lounge and an Observation Suite. In order to make test users feel relaxed and comfortable, the Observation Lounge is designed to mimic the look and feel of a living room. There are the usual furnishings but with remote control cameras and microphones to capture user behaviour and facial expressions during evaluation sessions.

The video data is digitized in real-time, and observed behaviours, including user engagement measured using heart rate monitors, can be fed into the world leading Noldus Observer XT 10 behaviour analysis software.
There is a PC in the Laboratory which can be used to capture keyboard input and the space can also be used to capture interactions with games consoles such as Wii, Playstation and Xbox 360.

Eye Tracking

The remote eye tracking hardware (SMI RED 250) records a wide range of data from fixation point of the user's gaze and pupil dilation to scan paths. BeGaze is used to analyse the output, for example definition of custom areas of interest and a wide range of statistics and the production of heat maps and other visual representations of the data.

Academics at the University actively pursue research and consultancy collaborations in the area of user experience and usability engineering and would be pleased to discuss potential projects with you.

The Usability Laboratory is available for commercial hire with technical support and assistance from academics with usability analysis if required, for example to enhance objectivity.

MMU Usability Lab Pricing

John Dalton Building
Chester Street
Manchester M1 5GD

Further information, bookings and advice: usabilitylab@mmu.ac.uk
Usability experts: John Darby (j.darby@mmu.ac.uk) and Rabia Khan (rabia.khan@mmu.ac.uk)
Director: Atif Waraich a.waraich@mmu.ac.uk

Per half day with static eye tracker £390 + VAT *

Per day (9am - 5pm) with static eye tracker £540 + VAT *

Per day (9am - 5pm) with static eye tracker & mobile tracker £640 + VAT *

Per day (9am - 5pm) with mobile tracker (off site 40 mile radius) £730 + VAT *

Per day (9am - 5pm) for focus group work/interviews £350 + VAT *

Per week (Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm) please contact us for a quote

Fees include technician support for the start and end of the session and 'on-call' during the remainder of the session.
Academic support: activity design, running the evaluation and objective analysis of the data can be provided by negotiation - bespoke pricing.

* Please note that all prices quoted above include a trial session prior to your booking with the equipment to familiarise yourself with the facilities available

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I make a booking?
    Contact usabilitylab@mmu.ac.uk with your suggested dates. We will check availability and get back to you.
    If we are able to accommodate you on the dates required, we will discuss your exact requirements and provide you with a quote. We encourage customers to make a visit to the lab to check the facilities on offer.
    In order to confirm your booking we require you to complete a letter of agreement and a risk assessment for your activity. We also require evidence of insurance cover of no less than £1,000,000.
    Please note we do not permit sub- letting of the facility.

  2. Do you provide participants?
    We do not provide this service directly, however we are able to put you in touch with a locally based agency who can.

  3. What about payment?
    You can pay online with a credit or debit card. Alternately, we can arrange payment by invoice.

  4. Accessibility
    We are very well served by public transport. We are situated only a few minutes’ walk from Oxford Road Train Station; the nearest Metrolink stop is a ten minute walk away and there are many bus services along Oxford Road.
    We are unable to provide parking onsite; however, there are several car parks within walking distance.
    http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/travel/manchester/
    John Dalton building is fully accessible. If you have any special requirements or questions, please contact us and we will be able to discuss with you how we can help make your visit an enjoyable one.

Contact Us

For more information about the Usability Laboratory please contact us at: usabilitylab@mmu.ac.uk