July 30, 2020
Exponent is excited to celebrate the two-year anniversary of our Phoenix User Research Center (PURC), home to Exponent's industry-leading Ph.D.- and master's-level user researchers. These world-class researchers have received degrees from top-tier institutions, have published extensively in scientific journals, have served as reviewers and editors of scientific journals, have received government research grants, and have, in turn, served as grant reviewers on both domestic and foreign panels. They are frequently invited speakers and have taught university classes and occupied adjunct faculty positions. Even before the launch of PURC, the Exponent team has been pushing the envelope in cutting-edge user research and human factors support across the entire product life cycle. The creation of PURC assembled in one place all of the advanced tools and technologies the team uses daily to create custom-designed studies rooted in basic science that combine qualitative research with eye tracking, physiological recording, motion capture, and/or other advanced quantitative data collection techniques. In its two-year existence, PURC has already supported myriad complex research projects that span consumer product, automotive, and medical device development life cycles. During that time, the team has grown fivefold, to 18 human factors professionals, and it continues to grow as the demand for rigorous, science-based user research continues to surge unabated. This unwavering growth is a testament to the uniqueness of the Exponent team.
Given that they need to meet the stringent requirements of Exponent's exacting and demanding user research team and match or exceed the facilities of our Fortune 100 clients, PURC's facilities are unparalleled. The latest in automotive user research and human factors testing takes place on our two-mile vehicle track, which permits the creation of realistic scenarios in a controlled environment and the streaming of vehicle data (eye tracking, physiological measures, video, GPS, vehicle performance, pedal and steering wheel forces, etc.) directly into PURC. Our focus group lab allows for discretely monitored group research and puts remote control of our customizable audio/video system directly into the hands of our clients. Our motion tracking and optometry labs support complex and in-depth testing of the health and safety of products such as virtual, augmented, and mixed reality headsets.
The research performed at PURC not only supports product development but has also supported litigation and failure analysis, in keeping with Exponent's 50-year-plus history in these areas. For various litigation matters, websites have been recreated, product interaction scenarios staged, and other conditions reproduced that existed at the time of the alleged incidents. Eye tracking, usability testing, and other advanced empirical user research has then been employed to evaluate claims directly and provide hard science in court. The PURC team, in turn, leverages the insights gleaned from this innovative failure analysis and litigation work to inform its approach to product testing and user research, distinctly setting the team apart from any consultancy that has only ever experienced the "proactive" side of product testing.
Just as innovation never stops, PURC's labs and testing areas remain operational. To permit PURC to continue operating during the current pandemic, Exponent has leveraged its in-house expertise in industrial hygiene, epidemiology, infectious diseases, and biomedical engineering to develop operating procedures that meet or exceed the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the standards of care of relevant industries. To adapt to the pandemic's environment, Exponent has invested in supplemental sanitization technology to maintain the integrity of our operations and the safety of our clients, researchers, and participants.
If you would like to learn more about how PURC human factors and user experience expertise can support your product development and litigation needs, please contact any of our human factors experts listed below.