ASU lab provides insight into user experience for apps, stores, more

iLUX Lab uses an eye-tracking tool to capture user experience

You’ve created a new mobile app. In addition to opinion-based focus groups and surveys, how do you know it works well for your customers, that they find it easy to use and engaging?

Or suppose you’re charged with creating a storefront display. How do you know people are drawn to the products you hope to sell?

What if you could virtually see through their eyes, or know what emotions they are feeling? And what if you could pair that to an exact action on your app, or the moment that captures their attention in your marketplace?

A newly opened lab at Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering can provide the evidence-based data and analysis that will give invaluable insight into the user experience.

The iLUX (Innovative Learner and User Experience) lab is designed to conduct a range of user-experience studies. These range from small-scale usability studies during prototype development to large-scale user-experience studies for industry and university partners.

The lab is led by Robert Atkinson, engineering and education professor, whose research explores the intersection of cognitive science, informatics, instructional design and educational technology.

The state-of-the-art lab, located in the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, includes a complete range of biometric sensors:

• brain-computer interfaces that collect EEG data and provide constructs such drowsiness/alertness, engagement and mental workload

• eye-tracking systems that track eye movement, gaze, fixation and pupil dilation

• facial-based emotion recognition system that collects facial images that infer emotions, such as joy, anger and sadness

• galvanic skin response bracelet that measures arousal and heart rate

The iLUX Lab is unique – it is based in a research environment, yet also completely mobile.

“We have a distinct combination of high-tech mobile biometric hardware and software that allow us to provide an all-in-one quantitative biometric user-experience analysis for our customers, in both the lab and/or onsite,” said Jim Cunningham, a doctoral student at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and an expert in learning analytics and data mining who works in the lab.

“We also can provide all-in-one services from the experimental design to the data analysis and results interpretation, or we can work with the experts from the client side," he said.

So how does it work? Take EEG, for example. Sensors placed on the scalp of a user record electrical signals at 256 samples per second. These responses can be translated into measurements of attention, excitement, engagement, frustration or cognitive load.

Another system involves infrared cameras that capture visual attention and fixation. By recording eye movement, eye-tracking technology is able to record fixation points and how long a user gazes at certain elements. This data can be used to create heat maps of focus by users.

The systems are used in combination to provide the researchers information about the diverse reaction that a stimulus causes.

You can decide the level of service you need, whether it be just the use of equipment or a complete suite of services using technicians and consultants. You can supply your own experts or work with those provided by the iLUX lab. The lab can provide services for small-scale studies and large-scale studies.

The iLUX lab is located in the Brickyard on ASU’s Tempe campus. For more information, visit or email