We tested at HUBRU (human behaviour research unit lab)

15.05.2017

We have started cooperation with laboratory of human behaviour at the PEF ČZU. We can confirm now interconnecting scientific and commercial spheres can work.

Why and When We Test Usability?

If we want to know the user of our web site or an application, it is necessary to use analytical tools. Analytics get us answers to the question of WHAT users do, but we cannot get answers to the questions WHY and HOW. And that’s when user testing comes in play.

This way we can identify the biggest usability issues and identify users’ needs and expectations. We can learn, for example, whether and how users can find their way on the web, how they complete various forms, or whether all the elements used are comprehensible – all in all, we are interested in how easy it is for users is to reach the goal we set out for the particular site. Based on these findings, we build a concept for further editing and further development of the site or application.

In what stages should testing be used? Ideally, in all project stages, i.e. from the very beginning when working on the basic prototype, during the development and at the very conclusion before the site goes live. In the case of a user interface, larger fixes are demanding, and errors in the presentation layer are often transmitted to the application core, so testing throughout the whole development process is very important.

What is HUBRU?

HUBRU (Human Behavior Research Unit) is a unique department at FEM CULS in Prague (Faculty of Economics and Management at Czech University of Life Sciences). It is a combination of two laboratories, a Usability Lab and a Virtual Reality Lab. Both of these laboratories are equipped with biometrics devices. HUBRU is a leap forward in the field of comprehensive human behaviour research.    

HUBRU - human behaviour research unit lab

HUBRU - human behaviour research unit lab

Modern Equipment at HUBRU

The testing laboratory room is equipped with cutting-edge technology, including monitors equipped with webcams, large-screen TVs on the walls, wireless headsets with microphones, eyetracking devices, and a portable camcorder. The whole room is monitored by video cameras capturing image and sound.

The moderator siting in the observation room, has the opportunity to moderate the study directly in the participant's room, communicate with the participants in the test room using speakers and wireless headphones.

In addition to audio and HD video broadcast, the moderator and observers can also use the record storage along with image and sound sharing systems. Subsequently, we can work with the records as a basis for a site or application’s editing solution design. At the same time, it is possible to broadcast the study remotely in real time on the Internet.

What and How We Tested?

We tested applicability of the current site from an area of government to create a new web site information architecture. In particular, we tested the way users look for information. Subsequently, a group discussion took place, discussing the general issues that came up during testing and users’ expectations from the site itself.

We tried a new method called Collaborative Testing. This kind of testing is a new unique principle designed by Josef Pavlíček and Rudolf Bock exactly for the lab, which is suitable for this type of testing. It is specific for all the test participants perform the assigned task at the same time, and each one is monitored and measured individually. Additionally, all participants are part of a team that may or may not have to interact with each other.   As part of testing are usually observed things such as e.g. working with the test scenario, facial expressions, verbal expressions, and newly also any talks among participants. Collaborative testing may benefit from social bonds, as it is possible to monitor up to 10 participants simultaneously.

Lundegaard at HUBRU

Lundegaard at HUBRU

Our Findings from the Testing

We have come to the conclusion that collaborative testing is useful in the process of designing and developing web sites. However, it is always necessary to assess its suitability for the specific type and stage of the project.   Among suitable situations may be such ones where we need to follow a typical behaviour in standard operations without interfering in attempt to detect further details. For example, detection of errors and issues on an existing site or catching "final bugs" before launching a new site. The advantage of collaborative testing in these cases is reduced testing time and thus also testing costs.

Josef Pavlíček, expert Usability Lab guarantor, comments Lundegaard testing: "This Lundegaard user testing is a beacon towards creating my planned global platform World Collaboration Usability Group (WCUG). The aim is to bring together not only academic and scientific institutions, but also companies into a single interest group supporting collaborative principles of usability testing. We want to increase the efficiency of testing for developers while introducing a modern and flexible system for teaching new UX designers. We are currently collaborating with the University of Missouri, resulting in the first international Summer School of Collaborative Usability Testing to be held in July this year."

What's Next?

We are happy for our cooperation with FEM CULS, enabling us to share experience and knowledge. Testing is an integral part of our work. So we are planning more cooperation with HUBRU.

Josef Pavlíček of Hubrich finally adds: "We are going to present results of the user testing, together with the scientific team Pavlíček, Hronza, and Pavlíčková, and Jelínková, at CAIS 2017 conference in Essen. We welcome further offers for cooperation from individuals and interest groups."