Tech Improvements and New Opportunities at CRUX

It’s been two and half years since we announced the opening of the Center for Research in User Experience (CRUX). Our capabilities have significantly grown in that time and we wanted to share with you what we look like today. We now have four different types of usability and eye-tracking solutions, all of which are portable.

The Tobii T60XL eye tracker is perfect for analyzing screen-based stimuli. This could include websites, advertising/marketing materials (e.g., magazine ads, brochures), presentations, documents, web-based applications and games.

The Tobii X120 eye tracker can be used to analyze smart phone and tablet apps. It also enables you to measure how people view real-world flat images that can be projected (e.g., shopping shelves, packaging).

The Tobii X1 Light eye tracker can be snapped onto a laptop or kiosk, making it one of our most attractive solutions for on-site research.

Tobii Glasses allow you to capture eye-tracking data as people move through real-world environments.

We also offer two tiers of usability research and interaction design services:

1) The Semester Project is managed by Jim Coyle, Director of CRUX, and allows organizations to benefit from the knowledge and skills developed by students studying usability and interaction design principles over the course of a semester (14-15 weeks). Previous clients in this new program include Macy’s, Cintas, Camping World, Hydro Systems, Hamilton Caster, and Lebanon Citizens National Bank.

How it works

Each client is assigned a team of 4-7 students who spend the semester evaluating the client’s existing interface(s) and developing the prototype for a new interface(s).

After an initial meeting between the client and team, evaluation of the existing interface begins. This evaluation can include a variety of activities and takes roughly the first half of the semester. Each team typically performs the following tasks:

- Conduct qualitative and/or quantitative research with relevant stakeholders (e.g., current employees, current customers, potential customers, outside vendors, business partners, etc.); this research may include in-depth interviews, ethnographic research, focus groups, surveys, card sorts, or other pertinent methodologies.

- Conduct heuristic analysis; a heuristic analysis consists of “grading” a website using usability and interaction design best practices as rubric items.

- Conduct competitive website analysis.

- Conduct usability and eye-tracking analysis of existing interface(s).

- Develop personas, rich representations of typical users.

In the second half of the semester, each team brainstorms a range of interaction design approaches that eventually lead to the development of a low-level prototype redesign. Each team typically goes through the following steps:

- Conduct task analysis; complex user tasks are graphically depicted to ensure that the redesign presents users with efficient ways to accomplish their goals.

- Develop wireframes and a prototype using Axure, a business drawing software specifically designed for creating wireframes and prototypes of user interfaces.

In the last step of the project, the prototype redesign is evaluated for its efficiency, effectiveness and user satisfaction, typically through usability and eye tracking analysis.

What you get

Deliverables include: 1) a 20-30 minute presentation that includes an overview of all research conducted on the existing interface(s) and the redesign; 2) the project book, which includes detailed summaries of all research conducted and a detailed review of the design process leading up to and including the redesign; and 3) all videos of users participating in the usability and eye tracking research.

What it costs

Participation in the Program costs $1500 at the end of the semester and another $1500 if the team exceeds the client’s expectations.

2) CRUX also has a team of usability researchers and interaction design professionals knowledgeable in a wide range of methodologies and approaches available for consulting projects. We would be happy to put together a proposal that best meets the usability and interaction design challenges unique to your organization.

Next steps

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the Semester Project or our consulting services, please contact Jim Coyle at 513-529-0983 (work), 513-341-1886 (cell) or James.Coyle@muohio.edu.

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