306 Main Library





Hours for sc can be found Here


The Scholarly Commons has two workstations and a small room set up to conduct usability studies. Using either the Morae (PC) or Silverback (Mac) software package, you could have a test subject perform a series of tasks while the software records what happens on the screen as well as the audio and video of the user.

Screen capture from Morae sample projectMorae and Silverback recordings can be exported for viewing on any computer. You can use these software packages to analyze projects with recordings of multiple subjects by tagging significant moments and attaching notes and observations. Morae also allows analysis, video highlights, etc., to be combined into report formats or exported into applications such as Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. Silverback gives the researcher the option to export the finished result into QuickTime.

The PC and the Mac in the Usability Lab have identical software installations to the machines in the Scholarly Commons. The Usability Lab can also be used to complete small individual projects that require sound, such as creating a movie of a screen capture.

Librarians who have conducted usability studies are available to provide advice about setting up and carrying out your study.

Make a Reservation

Reservations can be requested via email to sc at library dot illinois dot edu. Include Usability Testing in the subject line. A University of Illinois i-card will be required at the time of use.

Usability at CITES

As part of a pilot project, the CITES Educational Technologies Division may also be able to provide assistance on a usability project. Recent efforts have involved running studies for departments or helping departments learn to run their own. For computer usability studies, CITES also uses Morae software but paper prototypes and card sorting methods may also be employed. Contact Cordelia Geiken at CITES to find out more about those services.

Best Practices and IRB at Illinois

Depending on how you wish to use the data from your Usability testing experience, you may need to submit a form for review to the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

The Institutional Review Board (IRB), as mandated by federal law, requires all research involving human subjects "whether funded or unfunded and whether conducted by Illinois faculty or others, must comply with applicable policies for the protection of human subjects." Because of this, all research projects involving human subjects must be approved before recruitment or research activities begin. This is to ensure the ethics of your study and the protection of the research subjects.

To learn more about IRB forms, visit their website at irb.illinois.edu. To learn more about the initial application process click here.

Resources in the Scholarly Commons

Software: Morae, Silverback

Bookmarks: Usability resources on our delicious.com bookmarks

Tutorials: Morae Guide - Usability testing

Usability Testing - Best Practices,

Usability Testing: A Brief Introduction for the Novice