The Experience Lab (XP-LAB) in Hall 6 West is a Userlab whose objective is to bring together skills and hardware and software resources to build tools and expertise dedicated to the analysis of uses and user experience, in order to meet the challenges of research and the socio-economic world.
Composed of a technical platform and dedicated equipment, it takes advantage of a research base, particularly in the digital sciences, for the development of original protocols, using artificial intelligence in particular to collect and analyse data.
Winner of the AMI Userlab 2019
Supported by the University of Nantes
Located in Hall 6 West on the Ile de Nantes
- LS2N (Univ Nantes)
- LLING (Univ Nantes)
- LPPL (Univ Nantes)
- SPHERE (Univ Nantes)
- LEMNA (Univ Nantes)
- MIP (Univ Nantes)
The XP-LAB is co-financed by the University of Nantes, Nantes Métropole, by a State-Region Plan Contract (CPER) and by the European FEDER fund and by the Pays de la Loire Region (West Créatives Industries).
The XP Lab project
The Experience Lab (XP-LAB) in Hall 6 West, attached to the University of Nantes, is dedicated to the evaluation of experience and the study of the behaviour of users of products, services or spaces. In a vast and dedicated space, the XP-LAB relies on multiple scientific expertise with several research teams working on experimental methodologies, data collection and analysis (quantitative and qualitative) and advanced analysis methodologies. The fields of application of the research work are varied: the study of HMIs, the improvement of image quality, the creation of more ergonomic interfaces, diagnostic/remediation assistance, etc.
A Userlab enables experiments to be conducted that cross the research concerns of academic partners (research laboratories, etc.) and the needs of public or private organisations that wish to understand, evaluate and anticipate the behaviour of their clients, the public, users or users. To meet these varied needs, the XP-LAB can benefit from the support of Capacité, the engineering and development subsidiary of the University of Nantes: management of the recruitment of participant panels, development of specific tools, etc.
XP Lab – the technical platform
The XP Lab technical platform is located on the ground floor of Hall 6 West, the Interdisciplinary Centre dedicated to digital cultures and innovation at the University of Nantes. It is made up of different spaces allowing the analysis of uses and the exploration of the user experience:
- Three rooms of different sizes allow a wide range of experiments and tests to be conducted and monitored, with potentially multiple users.
- Three controlled environment experimentation boxes allow individual experiments to be carried out based on standard or specific equipment (computer screen, camera, eye-tracker, emotion measurement, etc.)
- The Cube, with a very large high-resolution screen and a multi-channel sound system for creating immersive environments.
A control room, the nerve centre of the Userlab, is used to prepare experiments, record audio and video streams from all the rooms, communicate with the participants and control the temperature and brightness of all the spaces.
XP-LAB– the equipment
All the spaces are monitored from a central control room and numerous audiovisual and digital tools are available (fixed and portable stations, tablets, webcam, 360° camera, video projectors, calculation and storage servers, etc.). The XP-LAB has a complete set of equipment specific to the measurement of the user experience in these areas:
- Eye tracking: The XP-LAB has a set of high-performance eye trackers, including several bars (Tobii Pro) and glasses (Tobii Pro and Pupil Labs) as well as a high-frequency 1000 Hz eye tracker (SR Research).
- Physiological analysis: the platform has various instruments for measuring physiological indicators, including GSR, ECG, Temperature, Breathing, EMG (TEA) and dry-electrode EEG sensors (Wearable Sensing)
- Motion analysis: several complementary pieces of equipment can be mobilised to capture motion depending on the situation, including body motion capture packs (Noitom), VR gloves (Noitom) and four stereo cameras (Stereolab).
- AR/VR: The XP-LAB also has virtual and augmented reality equipment, including stand-alone HTC VR headsets, HTC VR with an integrated eye-tracker and a Varjo mixed reality headset.
Projects and prospects
This platform, run by a Userlab Manager and dedicated to the exploration of human experience, aims to make the most of the scientific know-how and knowledge of the University of Nantes to support and develop research projects, but also aims to have an impact on the socio-economic players in the region. Several projects are already mobilising the XP-LAB, for example
- HOMERIC : A research project that aims to hybridise qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of user experience in virtual reality (Read more)
- PERCILUM : study of the use of new immersive technologies to improve the teaching of lighting environments in schools of architecture (Read more) [https://anr.fr/Projet-ANR-19-CE38-0010]
- PISCO : a project whose objective is to study and optimise the perception of details in interactive virtual scenes (Read more).
The XP-LAB is also used in many fields, from the exploration of the effects of climate change in urban environments (AAU, LPPL) to the standardisation of haptic signals (MPEG, Immersion), and the measurement of the impact of programmatic advertising on the perception of nutritional information on food packaging (LEMNA, CREGO, Nestlé Foundation). The XP-LAB is also open to projects from socio-economic partners in the region in order to offer new perspectives for innovation.
Network of Loire Userlabs
A Userlab is a tool that enables any player, whether academic or industrial, to base their research or innovation on scientifically controlled experiments (scientific and technical validity of the protocol, measurements, treatments and results obtained). A Userlab builds a bridge between research and innovation by responding to common experimental needs, but it is also a vector of accessibility to skills linked to user experience and oriented towards innovation.
Since 2019, the West Créatives Industries programme has been supporting the emergence and development of three Userlabs in Pays de la Loire, including XP-LAB (Halle 6 Ouest, University of Nantes) with UDP (University of Le Mans) and P2AC (University of Angers), and contributing to the networking and structuring of these platforms as well as the promotion of the associated academic skills, in close collaboration with the region’s research and innovation players (Technocampus, MSH, etc.)
XP LAB Hall 6 – West
François Bouffard – Userlab Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org / 06 16 96 33 04
Julien Laflaquiere – WCI Innovation Officer