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UTF photo

Usability research projects in our Professional Communication graduate program are actually divided between 3 different facilities. Our first facility was completed in 1992 and was called the Document Design Laboratory (DDL). In these pre-WWW days, the DDL was loosely based on Dr. Dixie Goswami's experiences at the American Institute for Research and used then state-of-the-art desktop publishing hardware and software to study page design and visual communication issues from a user-centered perspective.

In 1994, the Usability Testing Facility (UTF) was constructed to meet the demands for sponsored, proprietary research on designing online documentation, web-based systems, and 3-dimensional interfaces. The UTF was and still is equipped with SVHS video cameras and a cuts-only editing suite for analog work. However, as digital video capture and editing technologies have improved, the facility has been upgraded so that we now support a wide variety of media and digital formats, allowing us to collect data with everything from closed circuit ceiling mounted cameras to Hi-8 cameras to software capture systems like Camtasia.

UTF equipment

In 1996, we also added the Multimedia Authoring Teaching and Research Facility (MATRF). This facility allowed us to conduct non-proprietary research studies and to offer graduate seminars and undergraduate courses like "Usability Testing Methodologies" and "Digital Publishing." Because it was designed around 15 workstations and offers wireless connectivity for our college-wide laptop program, students are able to utilize multimedia authoring hardware and software including Adobe Flash, Authorware, Director, Premiere, RoboHelp, Photoshop, and more.