Anne Hunt (co-worker) and I just went for a tour of MSU’s Usability & Accessibility Center, which is housed in the Kellogg Center on campus.
Wow, they really did it up. From the ergonomics of the furniture and room layouts to the technology used to record audio, video, and motion screen captures, it all looks great.
The challenge before them now is to be self-funded within a year or so.
Part of that challenge is that they need to charge for their services, but there are usability practitioners out there who do usability research, but for practical reasons, use “discount” usability methods. Which work quite well, but you lose the high-quality video deliverable. In some cases, that can be worth the rental and/or conuslting fees.
In other cases, the extra cost would mean that usability research doesn’t get done, which is a worse situation.
Anyway, it seems like their market is a little tough.