Are Usability Labs an Artifact of the Past?

As we’re growing our qualitative user research team here, at Mozilla, people have asked if we’re going to build a usability lab and the answer is no.  Why?  Because you get the best results from interviews and usability tests when you’re in the user’s natural environment, using their own devices with their own data.  Sometimes we’re in a park testing on someone’s phone or sometimes we’re at a mall.  Other times we’re in people’s homes sitting on the couch with them as they use their tablets and their laptops.  And there are lots of ways to conduct high quality remote usability testing too.  So for all the reasons above, you won’t see a usability lab at Mozilla any time soon.