AV for Research and Testing Labs

Research and user testing are fundamental elements of product development. As companies increasingly see the benefits of conducting research and testing in purpose-built facilities, demand has risen for user experience (UX) testing and research labs equipped with high-spec audiovisual systems to facilitate detailed observation, recording and streaming of the test environment.

Although these labs will usually be designed to be flexible and support a range of research activities, UX testing labs will typically feature a room dedicated to 'testing' and a second room specifically for observation and analysis, with audio and video from the testing room piped through to the observation room. Researchers then gather a wealth of detailed information and evidence in real-time and from recorded data, without causing distraction for the activities taking place in the test rooms. Of course, the audio and video can also be recorded and streamed.

Observers in the observation room watch proceedings in the testing lab through mirrored glass. Focus group and UX testing activities can also be streamed and recorded for analysis.

Flexible UX testing rooms support a range of research activities:

  • Digital product testing (websites, mobile and tablet apps)
  • Co-creation / co-design workshops
  • Focus groups and group discussions
  • 1-to-1 interviews
  • Remote collaboration

Gamesys iPad observation room recording
A bespoke iPad-based control system app at Gamesys provides control over all AV in their UX testing labs, as they record multiple camera views and test sources for analysis

User control interfaces

Operating a flexible UX testing lab requires confident control over the AV equipment used for testing, observation, recording and streaming.

This may include control over loudspeaker levels in the rooms, choosing the right video source input for the observation rooms screens or pointing PTZ (pan tilt zoom) video cameras to get the right shot in the flexible space.

Crossover specialises in designing bespoke AV control interfaces which give one point of control over the audiovisual systems, and make the AV technology easy to use, even for non-technical people.

The control interface can be presented to users on a touch panel, which can be mounted on a wall, or housed in a table mount. For complete flexibility the systems can be operated wirelessly from a tablet.

It's also possible to integrate building control - lights, blinds and HVAC - for ultimate control over the lab environment.

serco insight ipad
Custom AV control for Serco Experience Lab, operating video, audio and PTZ cameras

AV control functions for UX and research labs:

  • Loudspeaker levels
  • Microphone levels
  • Display screen video source select
  • PTZ camera control
  • Selecting video and audio feeds for recording and streaming
  • Routing video signals between different rooms
  • Videoconferencing
GUI with blank at bottom_no logo.jpg
A bespoke control interface for research labs - this page of the GUI allows an observer to configure a multi-view window on the main display, showing various cameras and input sources on screen together

Mobile test facilities

Crossover also design and build mobile testing kits, so that a test lab can be set up at a client site or other location. For these systems the main back-end equipment is housed in a portable flight case, ready for transportation.

Just as with a fixed installation AV system, the mobile system can be easily controlled from a touch panel, providing configuration of all video, audio and PTZ cameras from an intuitive interface.

Microsoft surface hub collaboration
Microsoft's powerful Surface Hubs utilised in an on-site test and research environment

Contact us here with any queries about design, supply or installation of audiovisual systems for UX user testing and research labs.

Read more about our recent project work here.