When should we use a UX Lab?

Torresburriel Estudio
3 min readNov 30, 2022

In the previous post, we explained what a UX Lab is. In this one, we are going to see in detail when we should use a UX Lab and what a usability lab is for. Building a usability lab is not necessarily cheap and it can take some time to make it profitable. The cost of setting it up and maintaining it can be high, depending on the tools it provides. However, its importance is unquestionable.

Testing session in the UX Lab of Torresburriel Estudio

When to use a UX Lab?

  • When we want to obtain highly accurate test results. For example, if we want to monitor the user’s emotions, even their heart rate, we can do it with neuromarketing devices. And that can only be done in a controlled context such as a UX Lab.
  • When you need to work in a controlled context, as in the example above.
  • When you want to involve stakeholders, so that they attend in person.
  • When you need to record observations in a complete and controlled way. For example, when using an eye tracker to track the visual focus of the user’s attention on a screen. Or when recording picture in picture, which means that we see the user’s screen and also a lower frame with his or her face where we record and can see his or her non-verbal expressions and the way he or she addresses the moderator.
  • When you want to do test sessions with remote teams, both at stakeholder and teammate level. When you want to remotely monitor the session through a url. This allows you to do it in the languages you want, because you can incorporate simultaneous translation so that teams from other countries can follow the session that is taking place in the usability lab.

What equipment do we need for a UX Lab?

First of all, at least one camera. In a usability lab we always need at least one camera that allows us to record the user. If the camera does not record audio or the audio is not of sufficient quality, we will have to capture the audio with an alternative source, like for instance a clip-on microphone or a condenser microphone.

Preparations in the UX Lab of Torresburriel Estudio

It is essential that the person in charge of the investigation be able to see the participants, either inside the room or through a one-way-mirror, such as in interrogation rooms in films.

Additionally, we will need an eye tracking or neuromarketing device with various sensors for the tests that require it.

It is also advisable to label and document all infrastructure. This will help to organise it and keep track of it to avoid misplacement.

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Torresburriel Estudio

User Experience & User Research agency focused on services and digital products. Proud member of @UXalliance