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Build a low cost user research lab, for under £10k

Hi! This is a short guide to our approach to build a low-cost user research studio. We’ve built a very usable user research studio for less than £10,000. It performs as well as a £100,000 studio, and even better.

Here you’ll find information about why we chose to build the studio, the studio setup and equipment used, and helpful documents for running a lab like ours, and lessons we learned.


29 August 2017

The wonderful Leisa Reichelt mentioned the project in her wonderful “This deserves your attention” reading list # 7. You should sign-up.

25 August 2017

There’s been a lot of interest in the lab project. A number of government departments have contacted me about building a lab like this

I don’t use Github, but want to keep up-to-date

If you’re interested in updates, but don’t use Github, you can sign up to the notification list. I will send you updates as I make them.

I want to get in touch with you

Sure! You can email me:, or via Twitter at @bernardtyers.

Why did we build the user research studio?

The main reasons were to:

  1. to increase the amount of research with participants, and
  2. reduce the amount of spending on commercial research studios

In order to do that, we went out to the user research community, inside and outside of government, to see how others were doing it. We learned from their mistakes, learned the good things they did, and tried even harder.

You can read more about our research into building the studio.

How did we build the lab?

I’ve written a description of each piece of the equipment we used to build the lab.

Here you can find a step-by-step guide for connecting everything together.

Coming soon: Here you can find a the equipment list, with prices and suppliers in spreadsheet format.

Coming soon: Here you can find some information on how to configure the Pearl.

Coming soon: An example of the video outputs from the lab.

Coming soon: Photos of the lab interiors and observation rooms.

Coming soon: Information on the insulation and lighting guidance for the research studio room.