Designed with software engineering projects in mind, the Usability Lab is a research facility that provides the university community with tools to explore issues related to usability and technology. Equipped with computer systems, collaborative technologies, and recording facilities, the Usability Lab is capable of capturing insights into how users interact with technology. With a configurable room, the facility is capable of recording video, audio and monitor sources.
The Usability Lab is located in UVic’s Engineering Computer Science (ECS) building and is operated by the Computer Human Interaction & Software Engineering Lab (CHISEL). The lab telephone number is (250) 472-5775.
For more information or to book the Usability Lab, please contact the CHISEL Group Manager, Cassandra Petrachenko, at cpetrach at uvic dot ca.
- Canada Foundation for Innovation
- British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund
- OVO Studios
- University of Victoria’s Faculty of Engineering
OVO Studios Main Lab
Composed by one workstation for recording video and audio. The input can be recorded in the user room, while the investigator annotates/watches from the control room. We can have up to 4 sources in the adjacent room (up to 2 VGA sources, up to 4 cameras)
- Dell Precision workstation with OVO Logger 6.0
- Audio recording of the adjacent room (2 omni-directional microphones)
- Communication between the two rooms by microphone/speakers
- Five speaker sound system
- Two wall mounted cameras, 2 tripod mounted cameras
OVO Studios Portable Lab
Consists on a laptop for recording of audio/video of one other participant workstation/laptop
- Dell Laptop with OVO Logger 6.0
- Uses a portable webcam and microphone for recording
Tobii Eye Tracker
The eye tracker itself is no longer supported by Tobii. However, some useful documentations can be found here. For instructions on the ClearView 2.7.1 software that comes with the eye tracker, check out the user manual: Tobii ClearView User manual_CV2.6.
- 2 IBM tablets (X41)
- 2 IBM laptops (T60)
- Mitsubishi Table Top display
- Canon data projector
- 2 dual core workstations with multiple monitor support (up to four monitors)
- Tobii 2150 eye tracker
- 6 – 20 inch monitors
- Large SmartBoard
**These instructions provide the basic steps necessary to setup the equipment to run a study. Not all steps and choices are detailed in this document.
- Turn on the stations you want to use.
- If you are using a laptop computer, you will need to connect a recording VGA cable from one of the stations to the laptop. There are five of these cables in the room, one at each station. Also, you must set the laptop to projector mode (e.g. Fn + F7).
- Set up the tripod cameras your are planning to use
- Turn on the Rack located under the desk.
- Turn on the OVO Computer and monitors.
Configuring the Rack
There are two parts to configuring the rack, the video capture sources and the screen recording sources. This process involves mapping the sources (stations and cameras) to their outputs (monitors and “recording sources”). First, determine how many cameras you want to use and how many screens you will record.
- For each video camera you want to use, it should be mapped to a monitor in the control room, as well as to a “recording source”.
- On the rack, in the video rec. section, press the button for the monitor you want to use for the first camera (e.g. M1). Then select the camera you are using (e.g W1 for wall camera 1).
- Next, select the “recording source” you want to use (e.g R1) and select the same camera (e.g W1).
- Repeat this process for each of the other cameras.
- See also “Configuring Monitors” for more information
- For each of the screen recording sources you want to use, it should also be mapped to a monitor and a “recording source”.
- On the rack, in the screen rec. section, press the button for the monitor you want to use (e.g. M2), then select the station you want to record from (e.g. S1). For the stations, the lights will glow green if a signal is being received by the rack.
- Next, select the recording source you want (e.g. R2) and select the same computer (e.g. S1). Note, the R buttons used for screen mapping do not conflict with those used for video mapping. Hence, it is ok to use the same numbers.
Configuring the OVO Computer
- Once the OVO Computer is on, start the OVO Logger 6.0 software.
- Create or open a project. (Location: My Documents/usability lab studies/)
- Select >Tools > Configure Video/Screen Capture Sources.
- Add the appropriate video and screen captures sources. (How many cameras do you want to use? How many screens do you want to record? – There is a maximum of four sources, with at most two being used for screen recording.)
- For each source, set the type of capture (e.g. “Camera, scan converter, or webcam”) and encoding profile. For screen recording, ensure that the resolution of the computer you are going to record matches the encoding profile. Additional profiles can be created, if the resolution required is not present.
- Video recording standard: Video_Input*_320x240.wme
- Screen recording standard: VGA_1024x768_Input 1.wme
- Preview each of the sources.
Configuring the Monitors
- The monitors in the control room need to be set to VGA to display screen capture sources, and to Composite to display camera sources. To do this, use the left-most button on the monitor front panel (button shows a screen with an arrow icon). Note that if the monitor is currently set to VGA, the monitor must be mapped to a computer using the rack controls, as explained above, before you can switch modes.
Adjusting the Video Cameras
- In the OVO Logger menu, select Window > Lab Hardware Controls
- Wait patiently for control window to appear.
- In the lower dialog pane, select the wall camera you want to adjust.
- Use the arrows and zooming button to position the camera appropriately.
- The window can be left open to allow for adjustments during session recording. Note: cameras make noise as they move, which can distract study participants.
- Note 2: Tripod cameras can only be adjusted manually.
Preparing to Record
You may want to configure the User IDs, Task IDs, etc. Once you are ready, you can begin recording.
Please contact the CHISEL Group Manager, Cassandra Petrachenko (cpetrach at uvic dot ca), or Phil Gunther (phil at ovostudios dot com).
This page presents information on how to use the lab’s 2 Sony TRV-900 tripod-mounted digital camcorders. Some of the information is specific to user study requirements.
- To transfer the files from the Sony Digital 8 tapes, hook up the Firewire cable (under the camera in the metallic case) to the Firewire card. XP should detect the camera when you switch it to the Read mode (not filming mode). You can use the Windows Movie Maker software which comes with XP to ‘record’ the video image. Careful what format you select; it can compress the video to Internet size for you, if that’s what you want.
- Plugin firewire cable and wait for drivers to install
- Install VirtualDub
- Select device -> Microsoft DV Camera and VCR (DirectShow)
- Choose save location: File -> Set Capture File
- Turn mode on camera to Reading (VTR) (Do this but the big read button)
- Make sure the tape is in the right spot and press play.
- Then press F5/F6 to start capturing the video and then ESC to stop
- The user manual for the TRV900
- Useful reference page for all thing TRV900