Usability Express: Recipe for Libraries
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Usability Express: Recipe for Libraries

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  • Usability testing in its most pure form requires a mediator/proctor (you) watching, observing and monitoring participant(s) in a controlled environment as they complete a predetermined set of tasks. There are, however, other usability methods that can be implemented that are more scalable, cost-efficient, and easier to conduct that can result in equally effective usability improvements.
  • What we focus on here, is the TESTING/RETESTING component
  • This cycle can be applied across the various testing methods. Brief detail on each cycle.
  • BK mentioned the ultimate goal is to have happy users. The first step in any participatory design environment is to determine who those users are.
  • User profiling… “ you are the advocate of your users wants and needs” (Smashing Magazine) Various methods for investigating user behavior, demographics, and needs. These nuances must be interpreted before you can begin the process of determining what meets their expectations and true needs. The profile(s) you develop will not only help to inform your designs, but also help in creating unique user groups for testing. How to decide on those categorizations? These groupings/profiles typically begin to emerge organically, but it may also depend on the questions you are trying to answer and problems you are trying to solve. Does it matter, based on your questions/problems if a patron is a student/faculty member/staff/librarian; user “experience level” beginner/intermediate/advanced; off campus user; distance learner… etc? “Usability studies should be targeted to specific users in order to derive an accurate result” (Nathan) Determine if there are possible issues with navigation and bad language as well as the most frequently used resources and accessed pages/links- don’t forget the stuff that’s working
  • Need to decide the breadth of the testing… what exactly are you trying to find out? What needs to be changed/updated? Why are you conducting a test?
  • According to Nielsen, the best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford. He does also note, however, that if you have several highly distinct sets of user groups, it is best to test additional users. So it is important that the users you select are representative of your users types.
  • Your user will most likely defy your most common assumption
  • Nielsen’s 3-day project 1- planning and writing 2- testing 3- analyzing
  • Expect to gather things like opinions, ideas, general concepts and perceptions; tends to offer a lot of information that can help to build user profiles and expectations of use on the site= what the user wants Combine card sorting w/ focus group environment Paper prototyping with w/ focus group, etc Perfect for earlier phases of the design process Tips & tricks: Have multiple note takers present to help record information
  • Aside from formal usability testing, card sorting is probably the most popular method. Building on the data and demographic information gathered Your participants will re-organize content from your site in a way that makes sense to them Using index cards, post-its, or even online, you present cards labeled with categories, terms, groupings and varied language representing the navigation, links and Also, can be done in groups, individually or remotely (online) Open vs. closed closed- provide blank cards so users can add their own terms Outcome should be homepage categories and ideas for primary navigation, tells you how your user “relates to specific terminology”
  • You go to the user, instead of the user coming to you No prompting or list of tasks is given to the user, you observe them as they go about navigating your site and performing general functions; offer them a focus area or give them an idea of what you are trying to accomplish by observing them Gives you the opportunity to view their process and use your site as they would on their own Take the opportunity to ask questions to clarify what the user is do and even ask them about their process
  • Opportunity to work on the informarion architecture of the site w/o being committed to it and having invested a lot of time/energy into it and catch flaws in the design and usability before implementation TIPS & TRICKS Make sure you take notes! Might be helpful to record sessions or take photos of suggestions/mock-ups from users Have scripts ready so users know what your goals/objectives are
  • ROI for usability testing and methodology is immeasurable Site’s goal should be to meet your user’s expectations Based in Nielsen’s reccomendations These Usability methods prevented can work towards not only identifying problems, but offering solutions and new approaches to a task/problem

Usability Express: Recipe for Libraries Usability Express: Recipe for Libraries Presentation Transcript

  • Usability Express : Recipe for Libraries Bohyun Kim ( @bohyunkim ) Digital Access Librarian Medical Library Marissa Ball ( @unlikelylib ) f Emerging Technologies Librarian f Green Library Computers in Libraries, Washington D.C. March 23, 2011
  • “ Usability is like cooking: everybody needs the outcome, (and) anybody can do it reasonably well with a bit of training. ” - Jakob Nielsen, “Anybody Can Do Usability”
  • Why Usability?
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 http://xkcd.com/773/
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Users don’ t …
    • Read content on a web page.
    • Want to learn how to properly use a web site.
    • Visit your web site every day.
    • Return to a site where they could not achieve what they set out to do.
    • Users are always on the move.
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • From Don't make me think! : a common sense approach to Web usability by St eve Krug.
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • From Don't make me think! : a common sense approach to Web usability by St eve Krug. Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely. From Harald Weinreich, Hartmut Obendorf, Eelco Herder, and Matthias Mayer, "Not Quite the Average: An Empirical Study of Web Use," in the ACM Transactions on the Web, Vol. 2, No. 1 (February 2008). Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Users and designers do not think alike. A usable website looks right to users. Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Usable = ‘Fit for Use’
    • Intuitive to use
    • Easy to recover from being lost/a mistake
    • Conducive to users’ performing tasks
    • No need to learn at the first visit
    • No need to recall at repeated visits
    • No frustration = Happy user-experience
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Libraries and Usability Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Why is it so hard to make a library website user-friendly?
  • Libraries offer a lot!
    • Many systems - But almost all are information silos
    • Many different services - In terminology often foreign to users
    • Many details, forms, and departments - Often confusing rather than informing
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Libraries often get these wrong:
    • Pre-conceived notions of importance
    • Lack of research on users behavior
    • Belief that design can change user behavior
      • Design based upon a committee
        • -> Slow, design lack unity, and represents insiders’ opinions more than users’
    • Writing unsuited for the web
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Common Usability Problems & Examples
    • Clutter / Noise
    • Dated look
    • Too subtle design
    • Unclear terms / library jargon
    • Redundant or unnecessary content
    • Bad writing
    • Design against convention
    • Unintuitive navigation
    Usual Suspects Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • Promote all things -> Nothing stands out.
    • Users have no idea where to focus/start.
    • Information overload -> Stress
    1. Clutter / Noise Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • 1 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 You don ’t think libraries do this to users, but…
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library ABC Library ABC Library
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library
  • 1 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library ABC Library ABC Library ABC Library ABC ABC Library ABC Library ABC Library ABC Library ABC ABC ABC
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library
    • Improve by taking things out rather than adding them.
    • Be aware of clutter creeping in.
    • Users are happy to click ‘as long as’
      • it is mindless &
      • they know that they are getting closer.
    1. Clutter / Noise Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • Lowers the credibility of the site.
    • Users suspect outdated content .
    2. Dated Look Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • 2 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library
  • ABC Library 2 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • Replace old icons, images, typography.
    • Update a CSS file to give a new look.
    • As long as the site architecture is sound, serves the same group, and has clear task pathways that work, no need to redesign.
    2. Dated Look Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • Users scan web pages like a billboard while driving a car at 60 miles/hr.
    • Subtlety in web design often backfires.
    • Good web design ≠ Good print design
    3. Too Subtle Design Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • 3 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library ABC Library
  • 3 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library
  • 3 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library ABC Library ABC Library
    • Make visually clear what’ s most important, valuable, popular.
    • Provide a clear visual hierarchy on the page.
    • Break pages up into a clearly defined areas .
    3. Too Subtle Design Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • Test your site with new users.
      • Card sorting method
    4. Unclear Terms/Library Jargon Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • 4 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library
    • Replace all jargons with plain terms.
    • Do not use the product names that the vendors picked on your library website!
    • Use a short description if necessary.
    4. Unclear Terms/Library Jargon Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • Redundant content creeps in as time goes by.
      • Welcome, Introduction, etc.
    • Unnecessary content = Small talk
      • Users have no interest in small talk.
    • Answer users’ questions, not yours.
    • Serve content that users can grab and go.
    5. Redundant/unnecessary Content Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • 5/6 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 XYZ University ABC Library
    • Make a content inventory.
    • Review content by category & purpose.
    • Remove overlapping, redundant, unnecessary content.
    5. Redundant/unnecessary Content Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • Rewrite a page to be of the half of its length.
    • Then cut more!
    • Do:
      • Use clear headings.
      • Make paragraphs short.
      • Start with the key point.
      • Make content easy to scan (*bullets)
    6. Bad Writing Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • 5/6 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 XYZ University ABC Library
  • 6 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • The best ally of usability is convention.
    • Anything that prompts a pause and thinking is bad.
    • Surprise
    • Confusion
    • Agony over choice
    • Stress
    7. Design against Convention Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library 7
  • 7 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library
  • 7 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library
  • 7 Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 ABC Library Where am I?
    • Don’ t underestimate the value of convention.
    • Be creative without sacrificing usability.
    • Convention implies:
      • Obvious & predictable = familiarity
      • No need to learn how to use
      • No need for explanation/description
      • -> User satisfaction
    7. Design against Convention Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • Is it an information architecture issue?
    • If so, use usability testing methods to find out what navigation structure / organization of content makes sense to users.
    8. Unintuitive Navigation Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Planning & Conducting User Testing: quick, cheap & easy
  • The User-centered Design Cycle
    • “ Usability is an iterative process of testing /redesign, retesting /redesign, & retesting /redesign.” (Luther)
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Classic Testing Cycle
    • Profiling
    • Planning
    • Place
    • Participants
    • Materials & Scripts
    • Sessions
    • Debriefing
    • Analyzing
    • Recommendations
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 testing retesting redesign
  • Who are they? Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Profiling … it’s not just for law enforcement
    • Focus groups, surveys, and analytics data can all help you build your user profiles and determine which users to focus on
    • “ Usability studies should be targeted to specific users in order to derive an accurate result” (Nathan)
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Who are they? How many users are needed? Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 Happy Library Users
  • “ Ideal” sample size?
    • Varying “ideals” across usability literature, however, the quick and dirty camp promotes the following-
    • “ The ultimate user experience is improved much more by 3 tests with 5 users than by a single test with 15 users. ” (Nielsen)
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Goals of Profiling
    • Inform testing methods
    • Inform design
    • Tell you what your users really want/need out of your site- how does this align with your goals?
    • Tells you who all of your user groups really are
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011 Happy Library Users
  • Discount & Guerrilla Usability Methods
    • Simplified & informal
    • Varied & multiple
    • Focus groups & surveys
    • Card sorting
    • Contextual interviews & intercepts
    • Paper prototyping
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • 1. Focus Groups & User Surveys
    • Moderated discussions & written feedback
    • Will reveal qualitative feedback that will help to inform and compliment the design process
    • Works well paired with other methods
    • Expect sessions to last 1-2 hours
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • 2. Card Sorting
    • Interactive tasks that result in developing optimal Web site organization
    • Plan to have users group items into categories and help you label these clusters
    • Open vs. closed sorting
    • Expect the activity to last 1-2 hours
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  •  
  • 3. Contextual Interviews & Intercepts
    • Based on observations of users in their environment
    • Casual and informal
    • Ask Questions
    • “… next to the (formal) usability test itself, the contextual interview is probably the best tool in the box.” (Pace)
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  •  
  • 4. Paper Prototyping
    • Easy, disposable, adaptable, affordable
    • Allow your users to be creative
    • Create “screen shots” of various states/screens of your site for users to interact with
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • GOAL: Heuristics & User Expectations
    • Visibility of system status
    • Match between the system & the real world
    • User control & freedom
    • Consistency & standards
    • Error prevention
    • Recogniton , not recall
    • Flexibility & efficiency of use
    • Aesthetic & minimalist design
    • Recognize , diagnose & recover from errors
    • Help & documentation
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • “… librarians are ideal professionals to be spearheading the move towards a usable web environment” - Shelag K. Genuis
  • Usability Resources
    • Steve Krug, Don ’t Make Me Think, New Riders Press, 2005.
    • Steve Krug, Rocket Surgery Made Easy, New Riders Press, 2009.
    • Usability testing scripts and forms: http://www.sensible.com/
    • Jakob Nielseon, Ten Usability Heuristics http://www.useit.com/papers/heuristic/heuristic_list.html
    • Jakob Nielseon, Anybody can do usability http://www.useit.com/alertbox/anybody-usability.html
    • Jakob Nielson, How Little Do Users Read? http://www.useit.com/alertbox/percent-text-read.html
    • Jakob Nielson, UseIt.com - http://www.useit.com/
    • 14 Heuristics by OCLC http://www.oclc.org/usability/heuristic/set.htm
    • Usability.gov - http://usability.gov/
    • COI Usability Toolkit - http://usability.coi.gov.uk/
    • Usability Toolkit by Society for Technical Communications http://www.stcsig.org/usability/resources/toolkit/toolkit.html
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
    • Usability Resources at University of Michigan Library http://www.lib.umich.edu/usability-library/usability-library-resources
    • Susanna Davidson and Everyl Yankee, Website Design with the Patron in Mind, ALA, 2004.
    • LibSuccess Wiki – Web Design: http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Website_Design  
    • Writing for the Web by Gerry McGovern http://www.gerrymcgovern.com/guide_write_01.htm
    • Janice Redish, Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, Morgan Kaufmann, 2007.
    • How to do a content audit by Hilary Marsh http://www.contentcompany.biz/articles/content_audit.html
    • Content Audit and Analysis http://www.faithwarren.com/fwg/category/Content-Audit-and-Analysis.aspx
    • Content Inventory http://www.adaptivepath.com/ideas/essays/archives/000040.php
    •  
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011
  • Questions?
  • Additional References
    • Genuis, S.K. (2004). Website usability testing: a critical tool for libraries. Feliciter, 4, 161-167
    • Nathan, R.J. , Yeow, P.H., & Murugesan, S. (2008). Key usability factors of service oriented web sites for students: an empirical study. Online Information Review, 32, 302-324.
    • Pace, A.K. (2003). The usability toolbox. Computers in Libraries, January, 50-52.
    Bohyun Kim & Marissa Ball - 3/23/2011 Computers in Libraries 2011