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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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What benefits are there to conducting a usability test in this lab compared to conducting one at any computer?

Researchers who have used Texas State’s Usability and Research Lab report positive experiences with the one-way mirror and Morae software. Testing outside of the lab may have less reliable audio/video recording methods and therefore require more tedious note-taking.

 

Using the lab provides a more structured environment for testing and reduces the variables that can exist with more ad hoc methods. Morae can make coding test data easier than traditional note-taking and streamline the analysis process.

What equipment/software does the lab provide?

Please review our lab equipment page to see what equipment and software the lab provides.

How much practice and preparation with the lab equipment will I need before conducting my research?

It depends on your experience with the hardware and software in the lab. Researchers who did not have previous experience with the cameras and Morae software, for example, report that it helped to visit the lab ahead of time to familiarize themselves.

It is recommended that you conduct at least one practice test before beginning your research. Researchers also found it helpful to watch the online Morae Tutorials and download a trial version of the software to their personal computers to practice using it.

Can additional or special software be installed on the lab computers?

Yes, additional or special software can be installed on the lab computers if it is not already listed on the lab equipment page. If additional software is needed, please contact Matthew Greengold (mg71@txstate.edu). Please submit all requests with at least 3 weeks advance notice.

How large is the lab, and what types of projects is it best suited for?

The Usability and Research Lab has a circular table where the six laptop computers can be set up for testing or interviewing. Around the table, there is room for researchers to observe or assist. Researchers may also observe from the adjacent room by looking through the one-way mirror. Please refer to the homepage for photos of these two rooms.

When planning your research schedule, keep in mind that you will be exchanging the lab keys with the lab coordinator, Matthew Greengold (mg71@txstate.edu). You will need to make accommodations with him if you plan to conduct your research past 5:00 pm or on weekends.

How are Texas State IRB processes and expectations likely to affect my project?

It depends on what kind of research you are conducting. Consulting Texas State’s IRB resources is the best way to get answers about whether your project requires approval, how long that process takes, and whether the IRB will provide guidelines for how to gain consent from your research participants or how to store participant data.