The HCI program has two labs dedicated to software evaluation and user research on the downtown loop campus: (1) SOUL and (2) PLUGS.
The SOUL (Software Observation and Usability Lab – room CDM 805) is a flexible lab set up for usability, motion-game playtesting, and for observing usability taking place in the PLUGs lab. We have a ‘living-room’ set-up in one end of the room for evaluating motion-games, for example, Microsoft Kinect games. The large TV is also connected to a PC that has Morae observer and recorder installed.
We also have two computers that can be used as usability stations; they are Macs that boot up as PCs for the maximum flexibility. These two computers have Morae observer, recorder and manager installed.
The PLUGS (Playtest Lab and User Group Space – room CDM 721) is set up with ten user stations that are equipped with a Microsoft Xbox and mini-macs that boot as PCs. Each of the stations have Morae recorder, so can be used as usability stations. The lab is optimized for doing games user research playtests with ten participants at a time; however, the room can also be used for focus groups that are observed and recorded from the SOUL lab.
We also have a “Mr. Tappy” for the evaluation of software on portable devices, and a portable lab that students can check out. The portable lab includes a PC laptop with Morae recorder, observer and manager, two web-cams and two tri-pods.