The Usability Laboratory here within the Department of Computing and Mathematics is a facility designed to capture and analyse human behaviour as we use a wide range of technology including computers, smartphones, tablets and video game consoles.

The benefits of this type of analysis include an enhanced user experience, streamlined design and development process and improvements in efficiency and profitability.

The Laboratory aims to support the design, development and assessment of a wide range of software and hardware and can support:

Focus group based design including:

Those who might benefit from using the Laboratory include:

The Laboratory comprises an Observation Lounge and an Observation Suite. In order to make test users feel relaxed and comfortable, the Observation Lounge is designed to mimic the look and feel of a living room. There are the usual furnishings but with remote control cameras and microphones to capture user behaviour and facial expressions during evaluation sessions.

Eye Tracking

The remote eye tracking hardware (SMI RED 250) records a wide range of data from the fixation point of the user's gaze and pupil dilation to scan paths. BeGaze is used to analyse the output, for example, the definition of custom areas of interest and a wide range of statistics and the production of heat maps and other visual representations of the data.

A Head Mounted Eye tracking system (SMI) using lightweight glasses can be used to record user interaction with smartphones, tablets or any other technology based system. The system allows completely free movement and can be used to track interactions as a user moves through a building.

Academics at the University actively pursue research and consultancy in the area of user experience and usability engineering and would be pleased to discuss potential projects with you.

The Usability Laboratory is available for commercial hire with technical support and assistance from academics with usability analysis if required, for example, to enhance objectivity. 


Per half day with static eye tracker £390 + VAT *

Per day (9am - 5pm) with static eye tracker £540 + VAT *

Per day (9am - 5pm) with static eye tracker & mobile tracker £640 + VAT *

Per day (9am - 5pm) with mobile tracker (off-site 40 mile radius) £730 + VAT *

Per day (9am - 5pm) for focus group work/interviews £350 + VAT *

Per week (Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm) please contact us for a quote

Fees include technician support for the start and end of the session and 'on-call' during the remainder of the session.

Academic support: activity design, running the evaluation and objective analysis of the data can be provided by negotiation - bespoke pricing.

* Please note that all prices quoted above include a trial session prior to your booking with the equipment to familiarise yourself with the facilities available

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make a booking?

Contact with your suggested dates and we will check availability and get back to you.

If we are able to accommodate you on the dates required, we will discuss your exact requirements and provide you with a quote. We encourage customers to make a visit to the lab to check the facilities on offer.

In order to confirm your booking, we require you to complete a letter of agreement and a risk assessment for your activity. We also require evidence of insurance cover of no less than £1,000,000.

Please note we do not permit subletting of the facility.

Do you provide participants?

We do not provide this service directly, however, we are able to put you in touch with a locally based agency who can.

What about payment?

You can pay online with a credit or debit card. Alternately, we can arrange payment by invoice.



We are very well served by public transport. We are situated only a few minutes’ walk from Oxford Road Train Station; the nearest Metrolink stop is a ten-minute walk away and there are many bus services along Oxford Road.

We are unable to provide parking onsite; however, there are several car parks within walking distance.

Visiting Manchester Metropolitan University

John Dalton building is fully accessible. If you have any special requirements or questions, please contact us and we will be able to discuss with you how we can help make your visit an enjoyable one.


John Dalton Building

Chester Street

Manchester M1 5GD


Contact Us

For more information about the Usability Laboratory, bookings and advice:

Usability experts: John Darby ( and Rabia Khan (

Working with Us