Posts by Matthew La France

 
 
 

Tighter security on GO, administration enhancements

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

In order to address recent bot activity, input validation has been tightened on the form elements in GO available to non-authenticated users. This includes a captcha validation challenge on the “flag as inappropriate” area for non-authenticated users. In order to avoid having to fill this in you can always authenticate with your Middlebury account via the “log in” link at the top of go.

Also some usability enhancements have been made on the administration back-end to make GO administration smoother.

Usability Testing & Web Analytics

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Last month I attended a NERCOMP presentation on usability testing and web analytics at UMASS Amherst. The information from the presentation led by staff from Yale University will no doubt be valuable as the LIS web team explores further usability testing. Below is a summary of the information. My full notes are available on middfiles under “NERCOMP Events”.

Summary

Usability testing uncovers why your users behave the way they do. It can lower costs, increase participation, increase satisfaction, and provide data upon which to base decisions. It’s low cost but can be time consuming.

All that’s required is a laptop, someone to administer the test, and recording software or an observer. Do usability testing periodically when implementing new features or redesigning. Test early in a beta version of the site/application.

Once features have been implemented, collect analytics data to see what usage looks like. Form a question that can be answered by analytics data, decide how to measure it, and then see if the data makes sense. Check user behavior before and after the change. Do usability testing again to see if there are persisting or new issues.

The “Think Aloud Protocol”

Have the user speak their thoughts/thought process aloud as they try to complete the task. Think about what the user sees, says, and does. For each task write a question designed to see if the task can be accomplished. Recruit 5-10 users from population and invite them to take a test consisting of tasks/questions.

When writing your questions consider the goals of the implementation from both the organization’s and the user’s perspectives. Identify the tasks that need to be performed and form them into clear questions that address a single task. When you’ve identified your tasks do a pre-test to see how well the questions work.

It’s important that the facilitator is impartial. The goal is to collect data. Explanations can be made after the session. Collecting general feedback can also be helpful though it should be tempered with other sources of data.

“It’s not the customer’s job to know what he wants.” – Steve Jobs

LIS Content Managers Squash Errors Using Site Check

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Now that the LIS website content managers have been established, the LIS web team has provided them with a tool to help identify and deal with errors in the content of web pages. The site check tool from Site Improve will generate a report every 5 days for designated pages that it has crawled and let you know what errors it has found.

Currently a member of the web team is compiling these reports and sending a monthly report to content managers who are in turn dealing with the errors. Spelling suggestions are reviewed on the site check page before they appear on the report. A single report is sufficient for all of LIS since the number of issues is not so many that CMs cannot find the ones that pertain to their area.

The effort has been a great success with the 28 pages with broken links reduced now to only 6 in the last report. Spelling errors were also reduced from over 20 to only 2. We are very excited to have this process in place going forward.

New Print Theme for MIDD/MIIS sites & Additional GO Revisions

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

We recently updated the GO application with a new editing interface including more verbose, color coded, messages as well as additional input validation. We are looking for feedback as to the ease of use, etc. so please share any suggestions or feedback with us.

Also a comment/reason is now required when flagging go links to give admins a clearer idea of why a link was flagged. Thanks to all who have helped us by flagging links so far.

Do you need to get a hold of someone about changing a GO shortcut or becoming an admin of the shortcut? Try contacting the shortcut administrator. We’ve made a 1min 30sec screencast on how to determine the administrator(s) of a GO shortcut.

NOTE: It is no longer possible to “hide” GO links. GO by its nature is a public application with publicly searchable and publicly usable links. “Hiding” a GO link is more or less a misnomer and is no longer supported. If you have hidden GO links they may be unhidden. If you feel you have a legitimate reason to hide GO links and you are concerned about this please feel free to contact go@middlebury.edu.

Also, the main Middlebury and Monterey Institute of International Studies sites now have print themes. Please enjoy the new printer friendly pages that are generated on print/print preview.

Find a GO link ina”GO”priate? Do something about it!

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

We are happy to announce a new feature to the GO shortcut application, the ability to flag go links as inappropriate. While our community of users is certainly of the highest caliber, the GO application is susceptible to the occasional prank or other abuse. If you stumble upon a link that may not meet our community standards please use our new “flag as inappropriate” feature to make an admin aware of the link.

This feature is available from the info link featured next to each link in the Gotionary. Just look for this icon info icon.

On the info page you’ll have access to a “flag as inappropriate” button:

flag as inappropriate button

If you’d like to flag a link as inappropriate, simply click the button. You’ll see the following message:

flagged as inappropriate message

As per the message, one of our capable admins will review the link at a later time and take any necessary action.

We hope that this new feature helps make the GO application even more relevant and useful to the community. Your participation in managing GO links helps keep our online community healthy and active. Visit go here: http://go.middlebury.edu/