Usability lab opens its doors in New Zealand

Von Paul Brislen

New Zealand"s first commercial usability lab has opened its doors in Christchurch.

The lab, set up by technology design company LeftClick, will allow customers to see how consumers use the software being tested, whether it"s a website, an application or hardware.

Test participants are guided through a series of tasks that are structured to provide feedback on a wide range of topics, says managing director Alan Cox.

"The value of testing is in getting feedback such as, "I would have given up at this point" or "I don"t understand which option to select". These kinds of problems mean businesses are losing money somewhere along the line," says Cox.

While usability testing is quite commonplace overseas, Cox says LeftClick"s lab is the first of its kind in New Zealand. Already LeftClick has been used by Interflora, Incubators New Zealand as well as Navman among others.

Interflora hired LeftClick to assess its website and was so impressed with the level of detail in the research that it hired the company to redesign its online ordering system. Since the changes were implemented, Interflora says calls to its call center are down and online sales are up by 30 percent.

LeftClick has grown up as part of the Canterbury Innovation Incubator.