Welcome to the Hamilton College's Next-Generation Usability Laboratory. The lab is funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research's Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP).
Our research attempts to formalize and quantify the process whereby an interface (or product) is evaluated, and to measure precisely the effects that a given interface has on its intended audience. Although usability experts can measure accuracy and time to complete a task with an interface, measuring more subjective factors such as workload, frustration, suspicion, trust, and enjoyment is more difficult. These factors are often "measured" by qualitatively observing subjects or by administering subjective surveys to them. These surveys can include subject biases, and they are often administered after a task has been completed, lacking valuable insight into the users' changing experiences as they work with a given interface.
We address these evaluation challenges by using a suite of non-invasive, cutting-edge sensors to measure users' cognitive, physiological, and behavioral state changes while they work with a user interface or other product. These real-time, quantitative measures provide us with user state information that goes above and beyond the information that one could attain with a traditional usability test.