Usability Lab

The Simmons Usability Lab, established in September 2008 at School of Library and Information Science, centers its purpose on fostering collaborative research and experiential learning, and providing services to communities with usability needs. Located on the second floor of the Palace Road Building, the Usability Lab is an innovative, state-of-the-practice usability testing facility that offers faculty and students a testing environment to support user-centered curricula. In the Usability Lab, faculty and students conduct user behavior research,  usability testing/evaluation, and eye tracking of specialized computer software, web interfaces, and information systems.

In addition to improving and enhancing the student research experience in SLIS courses that focus on user information seeking behavior and the principles of information systems design and evaluation, the Usability Lab gives SLIS faculty opportunities to develop new courses and initiate cross-discipline collaborative course offering with departments such as psychology, communication, education, and computer science. The Lab has also been used for testing, implementing, and extending new collaborative research efforts to information communities in the greater Boston Area

The Simmons Usability Lab consists of our onsite lab and two sets of portable usability labs. Each consists of specialized equipment for usability and user experience research.

The Director of the Usability Lab, Dr. Rong Tang, has been involved in multiple cross-institutional collaborative usability research projects including Harvard Catalyst, Brigham Women's Hospital, Harvard Library Innovation Lab, Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and EBSCO User Research. She is currently a consultant who helps to establish Harvard Library Usability Research Center.

For more information on Lab use and rates, please contact professor Rong Tang (email: rong.tang@simmons.edu) with study specifics and needs.

Staff

Usability Lab Director: Rong Tang
Usability Lab Co-Director: Linnea Johnson
Usability Lab Research Assistant: Jennifer Gehly He
Usability Lab Research Assistant: Yeseul Song

Directions

Our lab address is One Palace Road, Rooms P204-E and P204-P, Boston, MA, 02115.

For directions to the One Palace Road building, please refer to Directions page.

Once you arrive at the One Palace Road building, please enter the building from the door facing the campus, and then take the stairs or elevator to the 2nd floor. You will find Suite P-204 on your left at the end of the hallway. The Usability Lab is located at the far left corner of the suite. You will enter the suite, turn left, and you will see offices down a corridor, the lab is at the far end of the corridor. If you need more help, please don't hesitate to contact us.


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The Onsite Lab
The onsite lab has two rooms, the User Room and the Observer Room, which are separated by a one-way mirror. In the User Room, participants can perform tasks. From the Observer Room, researchers can observe participants perform these tasks.

User Room


SLIS Usability Lab

Dell OptiPlex 755 Desktop

  • Hardware
    • Face-tracking Webcam with Built in Microphone
    • Over-the-Shoulder Video Camera
    • DVD RW drive
    • 2.33 GHz dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
    • ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT Video Card
    • Integrated Digital HD Audio Card
    • Gigabit Network Connection
  • Software
    • Windows 7 64-bit operating system
    • Microsoft Office Suite (2010)
    • Adobe Photoshop & Dreamweaver CS3
    • Morae Recorder 3.3
    • Morae Observer 3.3
    • Camtasia Studio 5

 

Observer Room


Two Dell OptiPlex 755 Desktops

  • Hardware
    • Dual LCD Monitors
    • DVD RW drive
    • 2.33 GHz dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
    • ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT Video Card
    • Integrated Digital HD Audio Card
    • Gigabit Network Connection
  • Software
    • Windows 7 64-bit operating system
    • Microsoft Office Suite (2010)
    • Adobe Photoshop & Dreamweaver CS3
    • Morae Recorder 3.3
    • Morae Observer 3.3
    • Morae Manager 3.3
    • Camtasia Studio 5
    • NVivo 8.0

Apple iMac

  • Hardware
    • Built-in webcam
    • DVD-R drive
    • 2.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
    • 2.0 GB RAM
    • ATI Radeon HD 2400 Video Card
    • Integrated Digital HD Audio Card
    • AirPort wireless and Ethernet Network Connection
  • Software
    • OS X 10.6.8 Leopard operating system
    • Microsoft Office Suite
    • Adobe Photoshop & Dreamweaver CS3
Portable Usability Labs
There are two sets of portable usability labs. The first set consists of two MacAirs, and the second of two Dell laptops.

Two MacBook Air laptops

  • Hardware
    • FaceTime camera
    • VGA adapter for Thunderbolt Connection
    • USB ethernet adapter
    • 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Processor
    • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • Software
    • OS X Lion operating system
    • Parallels Desktop Virtualization (Windows 7)
    • Morae Recorder 3.3
    • Morae Observer 3.3
    • Morae Manager 3.3

Two Dell Latitude E6430 laptops

  • Hardware
    • Built-in webcam
    • DVD RW drive
    • 2.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Processor
    • 4.0 GB RAM
    • Intel HD Graphics 4000
    • Wireless and Gigabit Ethernet Network Connections
  • Software
    • Windows 7 64-bit Operating System
    • Microsoft Office Suite (2010)
    • Morae Recorder 3.3
    • Morae Observer 3.3
    • Morae Manager 3.3
    • SPSS 18
Local Resources

Local Resources

Web Resources

Web Resources

Events
In partnership with User Experience Professional Association (UXPA) @ Simmons, the Simmons Usability Lab provides students with learning experience and professional development opportunities through guest talks and events that showcase usability practice and user experience (UX) research projects.
Calendar

The calendar shows upcoming events and lab reservations. For those seeking to reserve the lab, please use the calendar to view available times.


* If you plan to reserve the lab, request for tour, or schedule a training, please fill out a request form at least 1 week in advance before your preferred time and date. Thank you.

For an expanded view, please click on the Google Calendar button on the lower right side of the calendar.

Visit Boston Interaction Calendar to view the Boston Chapter of the Usability Professionals' Association Events Calendar.


Reserve the Lab

Reservations for the onsite lab and portable usability lab can be made using the reservation forms provided below.

* When you plan to reserve the lab, request for tour, or schedule a training, please fill out a form below at least 1 week in advance before your preferred time and date. Please note that the lab is staffed by GSLIS students and that your reservation requests are subject to availability of the Usability Research Assistants. Thank you.

Feedback

Your feedback is invaluable to us and we would be happy to assist you in every way possible. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can make the lab better, please visit out Feedback Form