Usability Lab - HTW Chur

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Usability Lab

At a glance

We support you with the user-based development of websites or online applications and advise you on issues relating to the conception, analysis and optimisation of your interactive products. Our fully equipped Usability Lab provides the ideal conditions for the performance of user-based evaluations such as usability tests, eye-tracking studies and focus groups. At the same time, thanks to our mobile infrastructure, we also have the option to perform tests directly at the premises of clients and partners and to test their products in their natural usage environment.

Offer

We assume the role of your users and provide you with new insights that enable you to develop websites and online applications that focus on user needs. In doing so, we provide the basis for attractive and useful products that enable you to develop and maintain long-term client relationships.

 

Our services aim to provide you with advice and active support at every stage of the product development process. From the initial idea, conception and design of a product to its technical implementation – we provide you with an appropriate solution that is individually tailored to your needs:

  • Provision of consulting services for the selection of suitable evaluation methods
  • Usability evaluations for websites and web-based applications
  • Provision of support during the conception, design or redesign of interactive products
  • Renting of the laboratory and the associated equipment (including eye trackers)

Using scientifically-based methods, we analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your interactive products. In doing so, we help you to avoid expensive undesirable developments and to optimise the user experience of existing products.

For more information on the issue of usability and user-centred design, please also visit the website of the Swiss Competence Centre for the Evaluation of Online Offers (CHeval).

Equipment

Premises

The Usability Lab has been integrated in the Service Innovation Lab (SIL) of HTW Chur and its premises. The Usability Lab therefore benefits from the modern infrastructure of the SIL, including a one-way mirror for observations as well as flexibly configurable furnishings that allow for the replication of various test environments.

Ein weisser Konferenztisch mit einem Bildschirm auf der rechten Seite
Sicht auf einen Arbeitstisch eines Regieraumes
Eine Frau und ein Mann sitzen in einem Raum auf aufgereihten Stühlen

Eye-tracking systems

Eye trackers are systems that allow us to precisely record where exactly users are looking at a particular time. This allows for it to be objectively determined where, for how long, how often and in which order users view the various elements. The Usability Lab of HTW Chur possesses various eye-tracking systems that allow for the investigation of eye movements for various (interactive) products in a range of environments:

  • Screen-based applications (e.g. websites, software)
  • Applications for mobile devices (e.g. tablets, smartphones, e-readers)
  • Real objects (e.g. posters, signposts, supermarkets)
  • Virtual reality (VR) applications (VR environments)

The laboratory possesses the following four eye-tracking systems from Tobii, the world’s leading provider of eye-tracking solutions:

  • Tobii Pro T60XL screen-based eye tracker: this system is integrated in a high-resolution 25-inch monitor that can display broad and detailed stimuli.
  • Mobile, compact Tobii Pro X2-60 eye tracker including mobile device stand: this compact, research-proven system is ideal for studies conducted outside the laboratory. The mobile device stand allows for eye tracking for smartphones, tablets and other devices.
  • Glasses-based Tobii Pro Glasses 2 system: eye-tracking glasses that are perfect for studies in natural environments. The ultralight design and live-view functions allow for insights in real time.
  • VR-glasses-based Tobii Pro VR Integration system (retrofitted HTC Vive): HTC Vive VR-glasses with incorporated eye-tracking system from Tobii that allows for the tracking of eye movements in virtual environments.

Technical infrastructure

The Usability Lab also has additional hardware, including HD webcams and camcorders as well as the «Mr. Tappy» device stand for mobile test devices for the recording of user behaviour. Its equipment also includes high-quality microphones (directed, interface) and a mixer for audio recordings. For its recording and analysis activities, the laboratory also has access to various software packages, including TechSmith Morae, Camtasia, Tobii Pro Studio, Tobii Pro Lab, Balsamiq Mockups, Axure RP and Silverback app.

References

Eye-tracking studies for websites, web applications and advertising (ongoing)

Performance of small eye-tracking studies for insurance companies, banks and marketing firms.

Expert-oriented evaluation of various web portals (ongoing)

Performance of heuristic evaluations for checking the usability of websites as well as their compliance with applicable ISO standards. These evaluations in some cases take place as part of the UFO project.

 

Evaluated portals and websites (selection):

Card sorting and usability test for the relaunch of the HTW Chur website (2017)

User-oriented evaluation of the proposed navigation structure of the new HTW Chur website with various user groups. Usability tests with an early prototype version of the new website.

 

User tests of a booking platform for group trips (2017)

User tests with high-fidelity prototypes of a booking platform that allows groups to put together trips (accommodation and activities) in Graubünden and book them directly. Completed as part of the Innosuisse (Commission for Technology and Innovation – CTI) «tailored online bookable offers for group trips»  project.

Conception and user-oriented evaluations of the prototype service linked.swissbib.ch (2014 to 2017)

Conception and repeated expert and user-oriented (interim) evaluations of a GUI prototype for the swissbib meta library catalogue enhanced with linked data as part of the linked.swissbib.ch project supported by swissuniversities.

Expert-oriented evaluations as part of the ElibEval project (2010 to 2014)

As part of the ElibEval project, a sub-project of the e-lib.ch: Elektronische Bibliothek Schweiz innovation and cooperation initiative, a total of ten websites and products were evaluated up to summer 2014, with corresponding redesign proposals being developed (several in some cases with different methods). These included, among others,e-codices.ch, e-rara.ch, infoclio.ch, kartenportal.ch, multivio.org, retro.seals.ch, swissbib.ch and RODIN.

 

Expert-oriented evaluation of the intergeneration.ch web portal (2012/2013).

Performance of a heuristic evaluation as well as a cognitive walk-through for checking the usability of the website.

 

Card sorting for the relaunch of the HTW Chur website (2011/2012)

User-oriented evaluation of the proposed navigation structure of the new HTW Chur website.

 

Conception and evaluation of the SERENA prototypes (2010/2011)

Conception and repeated (interim) evaluations of a prototype for an innovative, semantically supported search engine for life science as part of the Innosuisse (Commission for Technology and Innovation – CTI) SERENA project.

Conception of a user interface for the «Suchkiste Nationallizenzen» project (2009)

Conception of the user interface for a research platform with an inventory of more than 100 million documents that were licensed as part of the «Nationallizenzen» project of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

 

Team

Kummel Hanna
MSc BA Major Information- & Datamanagement, BA Medieninformatik

Further information

Institute

The Usability Lab is assigned to the Swiss Institute for Information Science (SII).