Overcoming the Limitations of Lab.js: Alternative Tools for Running Experiments Online

In the realm of psychological research, online experiments have become increasingly popular due to their convenience and the broad reach they offer. One of the most widely used tools for designing and running online behavioral experiments has been the Lab.js Experiment Builder. However, despite its utility, researchers have run into a handful of limitations with this builder, spurring the quest for alternatives. This guide will delve into these limitations, outline viable alternative tools, and guide you through the process of migrating your experiments to another platform.

The Limitations of Lab.js Experiment Builder

For all its utility, Lab.js has its limitations. One of the primary issues researchers face relates to the restricted selection of pre-packaged templates, which limits the flexibility and complexity of the experiments one can run. You may find yourself attempting to utilize cognitive tasks not supported effectively on the platform. Additionally, although Lab.js provides a fundamental base for developing experiments, it lacks advanced features for complex experiment design.

Exploring Alternatives

Upon comparison, jspsych stands out as a prominent alternative. Jspsych is characterized by a robust library of plugins that supports a diverse range of cognitive and behavioral experiments. Besides, it’s extensible nature opens a wide door for customization. Another alternative includes Cognition. This platform offers a unique remote, and online experiment hosting solution, considering the needs of remote studies particularly beneficial amid the pandemic.

How to Migrate

To shift your ongoing experiments from Lab.js to either jspsych or Cognition, you will first need to reprogram your experiment using the new tool. This might involve understanding the specific code structure, tasks, and plugins the new tool uses.

Cost Considerations

The migration process might come with some costs. For instance, you might have to invest some additional time in learning the new tool, which could delay the processing and collection of your data. However, this investment can pay off in the long run, especially considering the advanced features and flexibility provided by these alternatives.

In conclusion, while Lab.js has played a significant role in simplifying online experiment design, its limitations have prompted researchers to look elsewhere. Alternative tools such as jspsych and Cognition offer more robust and adaptable solutions for the future of online experiments.

Related articles: