The User Lab

By: Lucinda Dargavel Date: 08/02/2017

A space dedicated to the usability of your product.

What is the User Lab?

PDR’s user lab was established in 2009.  It provides a blank space for user studies; allowing us to fit out the room for the product under study and provide a quasi-contextual environment for user testing.

The room is fitted with high quality CCTV and microphones which allow all activity within The Lab to be reviewed and recorded remotely from our Observation Suite.

When would you use The Lab?

Often in-context product development testing is difficult or unsuitable. For example the testing of an early-stage medical product intended for use in surgery as it is likely to be inappropriate to test an early prototype in this context. In addition to this, usability testing is best conducted outside of the development office, in an unbiased location.

The space in The Lab is suitable for everything - from hosting participatory workshops to emulating various environments through the use of projections and props to create a product testing area. The Lab is a commonly used tool for our User-Centred and Service Design teams.

What are the benefits?

Testing in The Lab allows you to watch the situation in real time from our observation room whilst recording all of the interactions for analysis at a later date.  PDR's teams use state-of-the-art analysis techniques and software to understand and translate not only the verbal commentary but also the physical interactions which enable us to uncover both the explicit and latent user needs and desires.

Can you show me some examples?

In the Kenwood Customer Experience Mapping Project we set up a Kenwood product alongside a variety of competitors' products to understand the common interactions when assessing the value of kitchen products.

Whilst Discovering Wheelchair Users Needs we filmed lead users engaging with everyday environments to understand needs yet to be realised in the general population.

For Huntleigh’s Sonicaid Team 3 we undertook multiple stages of the Usability Engineering process in our Lab. From early-stage user interviews to documenting error rates on a high fidelity prototype.