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OpenVULab is tool designed for remote usability research. A unique feature of VULab is that it can record video and audio of remote users' interactions with their computer without the need to install an application on the users' computer.

When users log into OpenVULab they are presented with a series of pre-session questions set up by the researcher. After answering these questions, users are directed to the web site or application being studied and recording begins. Users then navigate the site according to protocols estabished by the researcher and they may be asked to talk aloud about why they are making particular choices. At the end of the session the recording is stopped and they are prompted to answer post-experience questions set up by the researcher. Users' pre- and post-session questions and videos are stored in a relational database on the VULab server that can be queried by the researcher and analyzed.

See for more details on history of openVULab and papers.

Project Timelines

Mid-March 2008 - Release of version 0.1. This version will include survey features

May 2008 - Beta version of remote recording feature developed

July 2008 - Version 1.5 with remote recording included

August to Sept 2008 - Field trials

October 2008 - Version 1.0 fully functioning

Nov 2008 to March 2009 - Development and release of Version 2

Feature List for Version 1.0

Researcher Module:
-user interface with tabs (textual)
-all survey functions integrated (pre, post, same session)
-user id creation within (plan for later importation option from Excel) [tester]
-superuser screen to view/modify all projects and create researcher ids <---investigate further
-research has option to make his projects private or public ( V2, full view)
-screen to enter url of site being tested. Allow for entry of a short optional text message that the user will see in the User module before clicking on the url (everywhere)
-a researcher Results page which will list User ID and links to view individual user pre and post question answers and video. This page to also contain link to view pre and post survey summary reports. Box to enter SQL commands to select subgroups of specify user files based on answer give on either survey.
-option to download a video

Tester Module:
-after login user is presented with all active projects they are enrolled in. Beside each project name they should know its status: completed pre survey, visited url, completed post survey, Fully completed.
-Users should have option to Redo a project which will delete all previous answers and video. (Version 2)
-When a user selects a project the pre survey comes up, and when they complete it the url screen comes up. I think for the redirection we will want to open a new browser window to do the recording. (consider interstitial)
-When users finish the site navigation they are redirected to post survey.
-Finish screen allows user to log out or return to do another project.

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