Skip to content The Open University

Jennie Lee Research Laboratories

Enabling Innovative Human Computer Research


The following feedback is from researchers who have used our lab services:

Seeing students using multimedia should be compulsory for all those working on Multimedia courseware development

“It’s interesting to see how users navigate the site, we never thought they would do it that way, we’ll have to modify it”

“Reinforced the need for multiple support systems … showed evidence of students inability to access help files

“Picked up a lot of tips about features that subjects find useful – informing forthcoming software design

“Very useful seeing how software is actually used

“Raised awareness that students can become more involved in the tools than the teaching

“I wanted to say what a wonderful time everyone had yesterday, especially the students. Each and every one of them was most impressed with the facilities as well as hospitality afforded to them. For me, that was the most satisfying part of the day. We managed to arrive, park, get to the building (with your assistance on more than one occasion!), test the software and leave without any fuss or problem. It was just perfect and that was no understatement.” 

“Many thanks for all your help and support yesterday during the Faculty User testing day. I know that both my supervisor and my dean were especially impressed with your facilities and the hospitality shown to me and the testing team. We had a wonderful time testing and learning about the system thanks to the excellent setup you created for us. I look forward (...not!) of going through the hours of footage that you gave me yesterday and writing a report about how best to manage the next stages of development for our software. I know the experience has certainly highlight the need to conduct this type of work if creating anything that is complex and involves 'e-learning'.”

"I have used the data capture labs on a number of occasions, assessing usability of educational websites. In general, these evaluations have called for bringing in users (or individuals representative of end-users) to walk with them through tasks on the website, whilst talking with them: the “walk and talk” methodology. To capture the sessions, we use a screen grab, two video cameras (trained on the user’s head & shoulders, and hand) plus audio. This is more than enough to capture data for the purpose of the testing team’s reflections after the session, although less than may be required for more detailed, research oriented work. The captured data has also been useful in other ways, e.g. as digitised video clips used in a seminar to illustrate testing methods. It can also be useful for presenting clients with concrete evidence of some of the usability challenges their product is experiencing. One client was able to watch some testing sessions from the observation room. He appeared to be quite moved, and has became a 'born again Usablity-person'. He felt that the insight and feedback on the product afforded by use of the labs were invaluable. Testing with actual users has cut through much debate the development team were embroiled in. There is no substitute for testing with users. One is constantly surprised to find how unexpectedly users can act. Data capture labs are a key facility for working with users, and thus a key link in the chain of ensuring usability and educational effectiveness."