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Centre for User Experience Research (CUO)

The Centre for User Experience Research (CUO) is a research group within the Institute for Media Studies (IMS) of the faculty of Social Sciences at the KU Leuven, and is part of iMinds.

At CUO we perform Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research from the perspective of the Humanities and the Social Sciences. Our mission is to design meaningful interactions in the domains of Media, Health, and Future Technologies.

Read more on our blog!
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Contact & location


Centrum voor User Experience Onderzoek (CUO)
iMinds - KU Leuven
Parkstraat 45 bus 3605
B-3000 Leuven
Tel. + 32 16 32 32 09
Fax + 32 16 32 32 10

If you come by car please make sure to book a parking place.


David Geerts - Research Manager

Prof. Dr. Dirk De Grooff - Research group leader

To get in direct contact with one of our team members, please visit our team member page.


Luchtfoto Ligging Mediacentrum

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CUO has a usability lab and design room, suited for usability research on different applications in different contexts at different stages of the design process. Below you can find descriptions, explaining what they consist of, and for what research they are most suited.

Design Room

Design RoomThe design room is a multifunctional room, suited for presentations, meetings, brainstorms, or workshops.

Besides audio and video equipment, the room offers an open workspace for different activities. A quiet corner of the room houses the CUO library. The room also has supplies for many creative activities, such as markers, post-it notes, toys, art supplies, etc.

Stationary Usability Lab

Control room stationary usability labThe stationary usability lab is suitable to research the usability of computer and television based applications in a strictly controlled environment.

The stationary usability lab exists out of an observation room and a control room, separated by a one-way mirror. The control room contains of a computer with “The Observer” software on it, which helps the researcher to make notes and analyse the collected data. The images from the test users computer screen are registered onto the control computer, together with the images of the 3 Dome cameras that are located in the observation room and can be moved via the remote control. The researcher can communicate with the test users via an intercom.

The observation room has been partly decorated as a normal living room, with a television area and partly as an office/home computer area where computer and office applications can be tested. The living room contains several domestic appliances like interactive television, game consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii), Windows Media Center, etc.

Eye tracking facilities

In the stationary usability lab, the Tobii x120 eye tracking system can be used to record the eye movement of users while they use applications as diverse as websites, advertisements, interactive television, mobile devices or even while reading on normal paper. The Tobii x120 is a free-standing camera that works out the eye fixations and gaze paths contact-free, which means the users are not burdened. The accompanying software allows extensive evaluation of the observations with several visualization methods such hot spots, gaze replays and gaze plots.

Eye tracking research is especially useful when exploring specific elements in a user interface or on paper, and track what parts draw most attention, which parts are overlooked and in which order the user explores the application or printed text/images.

Left: Tobii Eye tracker in an actual test Right: Heatmap to visualize where users are focussing