Why Usability Matters: a Case Study of the Cumberland County Library System Web Redesign
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Why Usability Matters: a Case Study of the Cumberland County Library System Web Redesign

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Presented at the Pennsylvania Library Association 2009 Conference. This reviews the methods and results of a successful Web redesign project where usability was a central aim. Learn about the......

Presented at the Pennsylvania Library Association 2009 Conference. This reviews the methods and results of a successful Web redesign project where usability was a central aim. Learn about the tools, techniques and processes used to make sure users are happy and you don't waste their time.

More in: Technology , Design
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  • 1. Why Usability Matters The Story of Change at the Cumberland County Library System October 19, 2009 Pennsylvania Library Association Conference
    • Federal Grant to CCLS Paves the Way for a usable Web site
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 3. Web Site Redesign Needed
    • Problems:
    • Cumberland County/Library System site
    • Site geared to government interests
    • Lack of Web 2.0 technologies
    • Organization-focus vs. User-focus
    • Virtual library services without duplication of effort and content
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 4. LSTA Grant Application
    • Received $90,000 to:
    • Create virtual library branch
    • Develop content for core library audiences
    • Use new technology such as RSS feeds & e-Commerce
    • Provide trustee and staff Intranet resources
    • Develop an easily maintained site
  • 5. The Results
    • Web analytics show growth in visits (+17%)
    • Top task testing show increase in task success ratio (+15)
    • Web scorecards show increase in best practice adoption (+24%)
    • Business goals working
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 6. Usability: Essential to Great Sites
    • Usability: “the effectiveness and efficiency of a system to meet the user’s needs, resulting in user satisfaction and productivity .”
    • Usability Engineering: “ tools , techniques and user centered processes applied to achieve usability.”
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 7. Scope of Usability Work…
    • User Interviews
    • Customer Profile
    • Task Analysis – baseline & beta
    • Expert Review
    • Scorecard
    • Requirements
    • Bench the competition
    • Planning assessment
    • Design Strategy
    • Information architecture
    • Training and Publication Guide
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc. Best Practices Voice of the Customer Voice of the Stakeholder
  • 8. The Story of the CCLS Web Design (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 9. BEFORE (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 10. TODAY (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 11. Reviews are in…
    • Modern and easy to use
    • Exciting
    • It’s all at our fingertips
    • Something I want to look at more
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc. It is more modern. It is more exciting – things are up front where you can see them. I like the aesthetics. It looks more interesting to use. (Dan) It’s up to date, modern, easy to use… This has something I want to look at more . (Michelle)
    • A Web design strategy has six parts and you should be able to get it down to two pages or less to do the job…
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 13. Elements of a Design Strategy
      • Business goals
      • Branding goals
      • Target users
      • General tasks
      • Critical success factors
      • Technology constraints
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 14. Business Goals of CCLS Site
    • Simplify and unify virtual access to our collections in service to the community.
    • Foster trust and loyalty through an online experience that is relevant, reliable and error-free.
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 15. Clutter > Simplicity (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 16. Clutter > Simplicity (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 17. Duplication > Unified (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 18. Duplication > Unified (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 19. Inconsistent > Embrace Standards (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 20. Inconsistent > Embrace Standards (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 21. Ineffective Promotion > Networked (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 22. Ineffective Promotion > Networked (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 23. Branding: Business Goals > Value > Visual
    • Define the problem and own the solution. The design strategy on branding focuses on reversing the weaknesses identified by the review and leading with the strengths users attribute to the CCLS.
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc. Business Goals Benefits to User Visual Strategy User-Focused Relevant/task-driven Audience POV Adopt Standards Save time, be effective Consistent Simplify & Unify Accuracy Focused Error-free Satisfying Reliable service Timely Communications Awareness Web 2.0
  • 24. Branding: The Tag Line
    • This is your chance to tie it all together with a memorable phrase.
    • Think of this as the flag you plant on top of the mountain after you have scaled it.
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc. Cumberland County Libraries…Belong! Read. Experience. Grow. Free to the People Since 1889 The Know Place Tradition, Exploration, Innovation; Your Space for Books and More
  • 25. Target Users
    • Initially there were four groups. This was later modified to include the homebound/disabled, and add kids to capture children who are not yet teenagers; families with children became simply “parents”
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 26. Voice of the Customer (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 27.
    • What do people come to the site to do?
    • Based on seven scenarios; Interviews revealed the most important activities
      • 51% resources
      • 31% offline actions
      • 19% account help
    • Our customer profile worked to validate picks
    • Log analysis was inconclusive
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc. Top Tasks
  • 28. Critical Success Factors
    • How will your team’s success be judged and rewarded? It is up to you to frame this narrative for those who will make these decisions. If you fail to do this, others may seize this ground from you and tell the wrong story.
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 29. Technology Constraints (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc. No tool is perfect. Get with your vendor or tech team and know up front what the tool can and cannot do. The out-of-the-box solution and its limits must be understood so you can set expectations. Content Services (NextReads & Dear Reader) Online databases & services Horizon Catalogue Eventkeeper CivicPlus (Content Management Software)
  • 30. BEFORE (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc. AFTER
    • Information Architecture decisions: selecting navigation, label names, page layouts
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 32. IA: How to Achieve Simplicity? (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 33. Proposed Global Navigation (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 34. Wireframes (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 35. Prototypes (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 36. TODAY (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
    • Success Ratio Rises from 62% to 77% (+15)
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 38. What is Top Task Testing?
    • Human performance testing (takes 3 to 4 weeks)
    • Identify your top tasks and create scenarios
    • Good results possible with as few as 8 users
    • Testers attempt to complete 7 tasks (1 hr. max)
    • Remote testing possible
    • Software measures time, clicks and success
    • Compare results over time, with competition or power-users
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 39. (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc. Find the address and Saturday hours for Simpson Public Library… When is that event at my library? How do I renew my book online to avoid late fees?
    • Usability Score Rises from 42/100 to 66/100 (+24)
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 41. What is a Web Scorecard?
    • Benchmark against best practices to:
    • adopt usability and content standards
    • itemize requirements
    • make improvements
    • start over
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 42. Biggest Improvement : Navigation (+50) Trust and Search (+34 each) Loss Side : Efficiency (Firefox browser) (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 43. Content is underperforming and should be an area of focus for future improvements (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
    • An action plan gets everyone on the same page…
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 45. (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 46. (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 47. What Worked: Strategy
    • Web scorecard graded the site against usability best practices
    • Design Strategy kept everyone on the same page
    • Planning Assessment Grid was a strategic roadmap
    • Web Governance Steps gave the strategy a framework
    • Publication Guidelines a desktop reference for content standards
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 48. What Worked: Usability Tools
    • Basecamp helped with online project space ($24/mo)
    • Usability Testing Environment streamlined task analysis ($2700)
    • GoToMeeting enabled remote online meetings ($39/month, $398/yr)
    • Firefox Add-ons browser tools to help you audit and evaluate sites(free)
    • Powermapper automatic site map creator ($149 +)
    • Visio Microsoft lets you build wireframes ($259.95+)
    • Web 2.0 Tools – Google Maps, Facebook, Blogger (free)
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 49. What Worked: Design & Content Tools
    • CivicPlus - site content management ($7000 annually)
    • Photospin - professional photos ($ 650)
    • WebResizer.com - edits & optimizes photos (Free)
    • EventKeeper - provides calendar ($400)
    • Dear Reader - provides content ($2350)
    • NextReads - provides content ($1360)
    • Bullzip.com - creates & optimizes PDFs (Free)
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 50. Lessons Learned
    • Contract with a specialist
    • Value of 3 rd party authority
    • Lead with facts, not opinion
    • “ Inspiration tour”
    • Right/wrong examples
    • Stage Intranet part later
    • Design strategy doc
    • Final punch-list with pre-launch review
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 51. Why Usability Works…
    • Get actionable results to measure progress: are you succeeding or failing?
    • Align with industry best practices – don’t reinvent the wheel
    • Lead with facts not opinions; it is a research-based orientation
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 52. Stay in Touch!
    • Kathy McShea Join my professional network on LinkedIn
    • http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathymcshea
    • Subscribe to my eNewsletter
    • http://www.emeraldstrategies.net
    • Follow me on Twitter @dcEmerald
    • CCLS: Jonelle Darr
    • Carolyn Blatchley Barbara Leach
    • http://www.cumberlandcountylibraries.org
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.
  • 53. Recommended Reading
    • Books
    • Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content That Works By Janice (Ginny) Redish
    • Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability By Steve Krug
    • Research Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines Dept of Health and Human Services Online | Bookstore
    • Blogs and Web Resources
    • WebContent.gov
    • Read Write Web
    • Boxes and Arrows
    • UseIt, Jakob Nielsen’s Site
    • TechMeme
    • A List Apart
    (c) 2009. Emerald Strategies, Inc.