How do you design and build digital products and services that are going to be loved by your customers and users?
User research puts you in their shoes, so that you precisely meet their wants and needs.
Introducing the Porthole User Research Lab at Rock Kitchen Harris.
The Porthole User Research Lab is a purpose built facility in the heart of Leicester. Its central location is exceptionally handy for carrying out research for projects virtually anywhere in the country. The lab can be hired as a standalone workspace, or complete with support from our user research and design team, who will be on hand to translate research evidence into a tangible plan of action.
It's easy to see how user insight ultimately leads to the creation of more useable products and websites; But, that's only part of the story. Client involvement in user research often gives them surprising and profound insights into their own brand or product, helping them feel better informed, and more personally invested in a project. Projects planned around real user needs also tend to have more clearly defined goals and priorities, helping development stay focussed, and within planned budgets and delivery timelines.
Safely nestled away in the thick stone walls of a 1930s former building society, Porthole User Research Lab is spread across three areas and two floors, providing ample space for observers and participants alike.
It is critical that research participants feel at ease when they arrive – we’ve built a dedicated entrance from the street that allows them to walk straight into a relaxing and familiar environment where they’ll be greeted by a friendly face and a drink.
No offices to walk through, no intimidating researchers or designers with clipboards and pens.
Intentionally minimal, enclosed and safe, the user lab allows participants to try out your products or services completely at ease and without distraction.
A range of familiar devices, a comfy chair, and a porthole view of the street below.
Clients and stakeholders can relax and spectate from a room located away from participants to avoid intimidating encounters.
A full kitchen adjacent to the observation room plus great local restaurants and delis make day-long research sessions a pleasure, not a chore.
No matter what your collective experience and talent, nothing is as insightful and eye-opening as watching a real customer use your product for the first time.
We know because we’ve been there. We’ve designed the simplest, most intuitive prototypes, and within minutes of observing a real user trying it out, we learn new and obvious ways to improve it.
User research may sound like a costly extra step, but it can drastically reduce development time. It immediately highlights design issues, and crystallises the problems that need solving in tangible and actionable ways.
It all starts in the reception area. A friendly face welcomes the participant (user) and makes them at home, before giving them a list of tasks they will be asked to perform on the website, app or product being tested.The Porthole User Research Lab is a purpose built facility in the heart of Leicester. Its central location is exceptionally handy for carrying out research for projects virtually anywhere in the country. The lab can be hired as a standalone workspace, or complete with support from our user research and design team, who will be on hand to translate research evidence into a tangible plan of action.
In the lab itself, with a researcher on hand, the user carries out the tasks that will help identify precisely where improvements can be made – all with the clear understanding that any mistakes the user makes are our problem, not theirs.
Meanwhile in the observation room, a researcher is closely monitoring the user via high resolution camera feeds, allowing the participant to be studied while still feeling relaxed and uninterrupted. Their behaviour and speech can be monitored and studied in real time.
All the footage is recorded allowing the user researcher to study it, collate results, and make a list of actionable changes that will drastically improve the product or service on offer. The process can be repeated to ensure any improvements have been effective.
The number of actions varies, but the results are consistently the same - user research undoubtedly leads to better product and service design, giving you a competitive edge. User research is invaluable in ensuring the products you design and deliver are actually meeting your customers’ needs.
It's clear the setup of the Porthole User Lab has been very well thought out and it's a great space. The lab is well equipped and our moderator was highly skilled in getting the most out of the participants. This allowed us to clearly see how they undertook each task and gave us an invaluable insight into our users. One of the biggest advantages was having the viewing room upstairs and away from the lab, meaning we could talk openly and discuss the proceedings without having to worry that the participant might overhear.
32 Pocklingtons Walk, Leicester, LE1 6BU - Show on map
The Porthole User Research Lab is housed alongside the offices of Rock Kitchen Harris in central Leicester. We are easily reached from the North or South by leaving the M1 at junction 21.
The nearest public car par is on York Road, about 3 minutes walk away.
Leicester train station is well connected, being 1 hour and 5 minutes from St Pancras. We are a 10 minute walk from the station, along the tree-lined New Walk boulevard.