Tag Archives: usability

Friday links – May 18, 2012

Matthew Reidsma on Libraries and the myth of mobile phone use

Journal revamped : ” … the members of the new editorial group … say their task is to produce copy that demonstrates that academics can do more than indulge in prolix, self-indulgent, and jargon-ridden prose that does little for readers’ edification, let alone pleasure.” (The journal referred to: Public culture.)

Sign up for LIS Website Testing!

Students, Faculty, and Staff: Would you like the opportunity to help LIS improve its website and make it work for you?

If you agree to help, we’ll observe and record you performing some tasks on the website.

Sessions will be scheduled from Monday, February 27 through Thursday, March 8 in the Davis Family Library. If you’re interested, please sign up by Thursday February 23rd (sign-ups are now closed), and we’ll respond with a confirmation. Details are below.

The session will take no longer than 45 minutes (15 minutes for explanation and summary, and 30 minutes for testing activities). We’ll ask you to perform specific tasks and we’ll use your responses in our work to improve the site. Your participation will be strictly used within LIS staff and not shared with any outside organization.

Thank you for taking this opportunity to help LIS improve its web presence!

Usability Surveys on LIS Web Pages

The LIS web team is at it again! In a effort to improve the user experience on the LIS website we are conducting usability testing. For a few weeks you’ll find obtrusive mint green boxes in the corners of the Library, Helpdesk, and LIS pages. These are very short usability surveys. Simply click on “Give Feedback” and then answer each question by clicking the location you’d go to find various pieces of information on each page. Each survey contains only a handful of questions so please participate when you have a moment.

LIS Website Team Update: UNA

This is an update on the LIS Website Team’s progress toward the User Needs Analysis (UNA) piece of our charge. Right now we’re sharing the results and suggested changes that emerged from the UNA with the LIS Content Managers for the 4 primary LIS Homepages (Curricular Technology, Helpdesk, Library, & LIS).

The UNA results were based on a handful of participants in focus groups and a relatively small number of responses to webpage pop-up surveys (particularly for certain web pages). We are now turning our focus to designing Usability testing (likely based on the format used by the original Website Team). We hope to achieve better participation for this phase of our assessment. We’ll wait to share the results of our UNA until Usability testing is complete and summarized, effectively sharing all the new LIS Website assessment data at once.

Usability Testing the LIS Website (Part 2)

Presenting part 2 of 2 blog posts describing usability testing methods of the LIS Website team (as promised in the Usabilla post).

The Team presented the results of our findings at a meeting with Area Directors and since the presentation itself does a good job of providing an overview of the other tools we used, here it is: Web Team Recommendations.  We will be passing the torch to a new iteration of the LIS Website team soon.  They will be charged with following up on the status of these recommendations (among other tasks). In addition, we’ll be sharing these recommendations directly with the people in charge of the specific areas of the site.

The presentation is a collection of highlights from our testing data (not an exhaustive list of all the results). There are links to additional information and fuller descriptions of the issues and recommendations, within the presentation itself, but they can be seen here as well.

Other tools and data sources:

(The observational testing data was collected with the help of 18 student, faculty and staff testers and the Silverback testing tool, which created videos that we analyzed to get our results. Just a note of explanation about Silverback: to get this information we recorded our testers performing task-based scenarios and we drew direct conclusions about specific tasks and generalized conclusions based on overall interaction with the website. We owe an extra special thank you! to all of the testers who generously volunteered their time, braved the webcam, and who, across the board, gave us wonderful insights and feedback to help improve our site!)

We continue to invite additional feedback on all parts of the LIS Website and the College site as a whole. Even though the current installment of the LIS Website team is wrapping up its work, there are many people involved with continued improvement and refinement of the website, and we’ll do our best to make sure feedback is directed to the right people.

Ways to give feedback:

Usability Testing the LIS Website with Usabilla (Part 1)

This post describes the usability testing that the LIS Website Team has done with one testing method. Stay tuned for a later post that summarizes our finding from direct feedback, surveys, observational testing, and this method.

The LIS Website Team used a service called Usabilla, which allows you to quickly design usability tests for web pages based on questions asking respondents to click on the page in order to answer the question. The application is described in this video:

The information gathered with this tool is highly subjective when there are few responses. The LIS Website Team has made recommendations for action based on each of the questions, but we leave it up to the people responsible for each area of the site to decide whether to implement these recommendations based on the number of people who took the survey. We also expect that the experts in each area of the site will draw their own conclusions from the data.

Here are the number of respondents for each test:
Curricular Technology: 15
Helpdesk: 18
Library: 42
LIS Homepage: 38

To see a heatmap of clicks for each question click the link for the question. Our recommendations based on the response are included below the question.

LIS Homepage

Question 1: Where would you click to contact the Dean?

There is some confusion about where to find contact information. Both the Directory and About LIS links on the LIS homepage will answer this question, but the information is more easily found in the About LIS section and better organized. We recommend removing the Directory link from the LIS homepage and moving it as the last link in the About LIS section. We are considering adding profiles for all LIS staff to this section, but that will require significant work and organization. This work should be deferred until conpletion of the Identity Management project so we can use the extended information that tool will provide.

Question 2: Where would you click to find Library borrowing information?

There were many different areas where people thought they could find this information: the Library site, the LIS Handbook, and information on visiting our libraries. Each of these places does contain some information about borrowing. They should use the Pages feature on the node editing page so that this information only needs to be updated once or, at the very least, each of these sections needs to link to their counterparts so that if the information about borrowing isn’t found in, for instance, the Handbook, people can click from there into the Library page on borrowing to read more.

Question 3: Where would you click to find LIS policies?

The results show that the majority of our audience understands where to find LIS policies, through the appropriately named Policies link on the page. Though this goes to the College Handbook, outside of the LIS site, it should remain in the navigation.

Question 4: Where would you click to schedule a room in the Library?

People overwhelmingly selected the Work and Meeting Spaces link to answer this question. We do not need to add other channels to access information about room scheduling in the Library.

Question 5: Where would you click to see what services LIS offers?

Many people thought that they could find this information in the LIS dropdown menus that appears in the Quick Links section of the page. This menu mirrors the left hand navigation and is redundant. The dropdown menus for the current page should be removed from the Quick Links.


Where would you click to access JSTOR (an online journal database)?

Many people thought that they could find this resource in the Journals A-Z tab of the Library Quick Search, which is not true. We should consider adding a Databases A-Z tab to mirror the section in the Research section to contain links to these resources.

Where would you click to see when the Library is open?

Nearly all people selected the Library Hours right sidebar tab, indicating that, even though this information is on the right side of the page which is less prominent it is still found by most people visiting the site and doesn’t need to be moved. We received some comments that people wanted a dynamic calendar with this information. We’re working with Events Management to make this happen, but don’t know when we’ll be able to make it happen.

Where would you click to reserve a carrel?

As with the LIS Homepage, the majority of people taking the test selected the Work & Meeting Spaces navigation link. No change is needed here.

Where would you click to find a CD at the Music Library?

People were divided between directly searching for the CD through the MIDCAT search on the Library Quick Search and drilling down through the Library Collections navigation. We should add text to the Catalog search tab to make it more obvious that you can search all of the collections through this interface and do not need to visit the page for a specific collection before searching.

Where would you click to ask for help?

People were divided between the Ask a Librarian form and the Contact Us navigation link. Since this question was ambiguous about the type of help the person is seeking, both of these sections of the page are appropriate, so no changes are needed.


Where would you click to find a printer?

Most people selected the two printing links in the center of the Helpdesk homepage. These links serve different types of printing needs and the question wasn’t specific enough to differentiate. Still, the Helpdesk might consider making the distinction between the information in these two sections more obvious.

Where would you click to get anti-virus software for your computer?

Most people thought they could find this in the Software Support section of the Helpdesk site. While there is a link on that page to documentation on Symantec Anti-Virus, there isn’t a link to the local installer. This should be added to the page and we should check the other items on that page to add links to get the software, where possible.

Where would you click to find out how to access MiddFiles?

People were evenly split between the “I Need To Find…”, “What can we help you with?”, and “Frequently Asked Questions” links in the navigation, with many also clicking “Software Support” and “Help Portals”. The top-level navigation for the Helpdesk needs to be re-examined to make the distinction between these items more obvious.

Where would you click to find out where wireless is available on campus?

Most people thought that they would find this information in the “I Need To Find…” section of the Helpdesk site, but there is no obvious link to that information on the page. A link to the wireless location section of the LIS Wiki should be added to this page or the top-level navigation should be changed to make this information easier to find.

Where would you click to report an issue?

Some people selected the self-help section “Help Portals”, but most chose to click the email link in the Helpdesk contact information section. Both are appropriate, but the Helpdesk should consider advertising the Help Portals section more to get people to go through there before emailing directly.

Curricular Technology

Where would you click to start a course site?

The majority of people responding found the appropriate direct link to Course Sites in the center paragraphs of the page, indicating that this information is prominent enough without needing to be a main navigation link. However, the Course Sites page does not inform the user hw to create a course site, so this information should be added to that page or this link should point to a page with that information.

Where would you click to see examples of using Curricular Technology in courses?

Most people clicked the stories link in the navigation and the center section, but some people clicked the Tools link. The Curricular Technology Team should consider adding stories about each of the Tools to their Tools page.

Where would you click to contact someone for help with Curricular Technology?

Most people clicked the Help link in the site navigation which goes to a page about contacting the liaisons, the Helpdesk or the Wilson Media Lab. Some people clicked on the direct link to the liaisons on the home page and might have missed the information about contacting the Helpdesk or Media Lab. The Curricular Technology Team should consider changing the link in the center of the page to go to the Help page instead of directly to the liaisons if they think it is important for people interesting in CT to see all of the support options.

Where would you click to start a survey for your course?

Nearly all respondents selected the Tools section of the site. No change is warranted based on this feedback.

Where would you click to learn the difference between a Blog and a Wiki?

Nearly all respondents selected the Buzzwords section of the site. No change is warranted based on this feedback.

Help us improve the LIS Website!

The LIS Website team has set up four quick tests to see if we’ve placed links to resources and information in the right place on the page and used the correct labels. For each test, you’ll be asked 5 questions like, “Where would you click to find out when the next Cookie Night will be?” You can click anywhere on the screenshot and can leave multiple clicks for each question. To add a comment to one of your clicks like, “I’d click here, but only because I know to find Cookie Night information on the blog…” you can click the plus (+) sign above and to the right of your placemark.

We’ve created one test for each of the four areas of the LIS Website. Each test has a different set of five questions. A test should only take 1-2 minutes to complete. Thanks for your help!

LIS Homepage

Library Homepage

Helpdesk Homepage

Curricular Technology Homepage