Situated in the heart of the digital and creative quarter of London Bridge, Experience Lab have three sophisticated purpose-built user experience (UX) testing and observation labs. These facilities are perfect for conducting research events and interviews, focus groups, advanced user experience testing, small group and one-to-one sessions, where evidence gathering and recording are essential outcomes.
Crossover were chosen above stiff competition to deliver first class audiovisual systems for these facilities, working closely with Experience Lab for well over a year in the design and consultation process.
Serco, the parent company of Experience Lab, is a FTSE top 250 company managing over 500 public service contracts and employing over 50,000 people worldwide. Serco's investment in Experience Lab is part of a commitment to make a difference through researching issues relevant to the public sectors they serve. In addition, private sector clients are helped to understand their own customer base and hone product designs accordingly.
Experience Lab clients include:
- American Express
- HM Revenue & Customs
- Lloyds Banking Group
Three different studios are available and fully equipped with audiovisual equipment that has been meticulously installed, accurately configured and rigorously tested by Crossover to ensure high quality and reliability:
- The Insight Lab: a flexible lounge-style space ideal for co-creation or larger focus groups (12 participants)
- The Collaboration Lab: a medium sized lab ideal for research interviews and small group sessions (8 participants)
- The Engagement Lab: Perfect for one-to-one sessions and usability (UX) testing (2 participants)
In each lab the client is provided with:
- Full HD video and sound recording capabilities, with a dual-input high-spec recording PC allowing recording AND streaming of the testing sessions simultaneously, allowing remote participants to observe and collaborate, and for recordings to be analysed / viewed at a later date
- Full control over the recording sessions from a bespoke iPad-based system, giving control over the image selection and camera angles
- Full visibility and audibility from an isolated observation booth, segregated by one-way mirrored glass and an acoustic partition.
Below: The observation room looks into the test lab through one-way mirrored glass. As part of the project value-engineering process Crossover helped Experience Lab to move and re-use many of their existing display screens, reducing project cost.
iPad control app
From the iPad observers can pan, tilt and zoom Full HD cameras mounted to capture user's facial expressions, or to view their gestures as they interact with other people in the room, or the devices under test. Similarly focus group discussions taking place in the training / testing room can be observed and recorded for playback and distribution at a later stage.
The bespoke control system makes a very sophisticated system straightforward to use for the Experience Lab staff, with a clear, well-designed GUI running on the iPad. Each of the three labs has it's own specific control interface design, and the staff retain full control of the spaces with a 'master' iPad, and a wired back-up touch panel (in case of any issues with the wireless network).
Below: The bespoke iPad-based control app gives Experience Lab full control over the AV environments in each of their labs
Audiovisual Technology for UX Testing
Sound is captured by sophisticated ceiling microphones from high-end conferencing manufacturer Polycom. These golf ball sized mic arrays actually contain three separate microphone capsules, which are intelligently switched to focus on the person speaking.
In the observation room dual Full HD display screens present either the images from the testing room cameras, or the video input sources (e.g. the games being tested, or content streamed wirelessly).
A powerful dual-input recording PC captures pictures and sound from the training room, giving Experience Lab the ability to review and analyse the data captured during testing. Sessions can also be streamed live for remote observers. Crossover worked with the client's IT department to help optimise the PC operating system and hardware performance to ensure the machines were ready for the high demands of long recording and streaming sessions.
During the installation and build process Crossover worked closely with leading office design and fit out specialist Area Sq, collaborating to meet tight deadlines and exacting standards of quality.
Training and Support
Comprehensive systems training and user guides were created as part of the handover process, equipping the Experience Lab team to understand and operate the three labs on a daily basis. Pleasingly for such a complex integrated system the feedback from Experience Lab is that they have a rock solid system, requiring very little post-install support from Crossover since the labs went live. Should they need help Crossover provide 12-months free post-install support with every project.