The Future Is Here

Designers standing around a whiteboard discussion some interfaces designs drawn on it.

A bit earlier than planned we are pleased to reveal our new website. This is the most visible part of 18 months of change here at City Interaction Lab. Since I took over in May 2013 I have been working to update City Interaction Lab in order to meet the changing demands of industry. The drive behind these changes is to move City Interaction Lab beyond just lab based research and facilities hire and further into contextual research and full fledged consultancy. I strongly believe that we can provide more value to clients and students by working throughout a projects life cycle from formative research, iterating through designs of a service or product, incorporating rounds of evaluation before eventual launch. To this end City Interaction Lab have shifted our focus to being consultants in Human-Centred Design and Innovation.

What is Human-Centred Design?

I’m sure some of you are asking why Human-Centred Design? Isn’t User Experience (UX) the buzz word these days? Whilst User Experience (UX) is term de rigueur at the moment, and we are using it interchangeably with Human-Centred Design, its foundation is usability achieved through Human-Centred design. We believe that this foundation of providing inherently usable and functional products is being neglected in favour of providing novel ‘experiences’. So City Interaction Lab is here to support those businesses that need a product designed around their users needs as opposed to something experiential but inherently impractical (Windows 8 anyone?).

What else has changed?

In order to work on larger consultancy projects we have recruited a pool of Student Consultants from the students and graduates of our departments MSc Human-Centred Systems. All of our consultants come from professional careers before joining us at the lab so are used to working in a commercial environment, many of them having already worked in research or design previously. As well as their professional experience our Student Consultants also bring enthusiasm and a fresh perspective on projects that might be lacking within established agency teams.

Alongside the labs shift in focus we have also come up with a new brand identity thanks to Paul Hodge (our excellent graphic designer) and have a brilliant photo library thanks to Sophie Gost (City’s photographer extraordinaire), that will project a more professional outward appearance and better support us in communicating to people what we do. Thanks for students and staff from HCID for modelling for the shots and our upcoming services video.

Do you still hire your facilities out?

In spite of our change in focus we haven’t neglected facilities hire. We have invested in the labs environment through new decor and branding materials. We have introduced our Experience Lounge area for testing devices and consumer electronics in a domestic setting and the space will continue to evolve in order to meet market demand.. We have also introduced ‘Premium Lab Hire’ which allows client teams to observe user testing sessions from the comfort of a workshop space rather than the smaller adjoining room. The benefit of ‘Premium Lab Hire’ is that project teams can discuss insights as they happen and solve issues there and then as opposed to waiting for breaks between sessions.

What do you think?

Whilst we have tried to avoid problems with our new website and have conducted user testing on it to spot any issues we are sure some will have slipped through. If you spot any issues then please let me know and I will make sure they are corrected.


Stuart Scott
Manager / UX Lead