On Friday, October 22nd COR faculty and students took a tour of the innovative Hanalab, which recently opened.
The Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences has built a behavioral lab to support faculty and graduate students to conduct research in which real people are observed using various technologies on various tasks in various conditions. For example, Andre van der Hoek and his students are studying how teams of software developers conduct design using an electronic whiteboard. Judy and Gary Olson and their students observe groups of 10 people working on a coordination task, with 5 of the group members meeting face-to-face and 5 others communicating only by email (“remote workers”). Susan Sims and her group study how software developers understand source code by having them think aloud while doing a design or maintenance task. In the future, some of the undergraduate classes may participate in usability studies, where they also observe people using software to uncover where their designs need to change in order to be user friendly.
All of these (and many more) projects require video and audio capture of these participants doing their work, as well as logs of their behavior on various technologies. The lab consists of one room large enough to hold up to 8 people, working either at a table (on computers) or on an electronic whiteboard or other technology. This room can be used for studies of team or group work as well as for conducting focus groups. A second existing room has been divided into 5 rooms, where “remote” group members can participate in a virtual group study from different locations. These rooms can be used for individuals working on a task or for one on one interviews. All of the rooms have the ability to video and audio record. A control room houses sophisticated recording and switching equipment. Additionally, the experimenter can speak to and hear people in the various rooms, e.g., for telling them when to start and stop a task, or to answer clarifying questions.
Faculty and students from all school may request to use the Hanalab, although priority is given to ICS.
An attendee of the event commented:
“Thanks so much for organizing a tour of the Hana Lab in the School of Informatics last Friday. Events like this are what make COR so valuable – exposing people from departments across campus to people and resources we likely never would have discovered on our own. I’m very grateful and am already looking forward to the next COR event.”–Beth Karlin
Please contact Amy Voida (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about Hanalab.