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Information Architecture & Usability for the Systems Librarian
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Information Architecture & Usability for the Systems Librarian


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This is an introductory presentation on Information Architecture and usability concepts for the systems librarian. It designed as an overview as well as a justification for the application of these …

This is an introductory presentation on Information Architecture and usability concepts for the systems librarian. It designed as an overview as well as a justification for the application of these concepts in the library science field - specifically in ILS evaluation and selection.

Published in: Education, Technology, Design

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  • 1. Information Architecture, Usability & Findability
    A Perspective for the Systems Librarian & ILS Selection
  • 2. What’s All the Hub-Bub?
    New tools require new paradigms
    Just as a librarian must understand how resources are cataloged and stored in the physical library, they must understand how e-content is organized
    This requires:
    Technical knowledge of org. systems
    Understanding user behavior
    Understanding principles of design
  • 3. Why is it Important to the Systems Librarian?
    How do they get to your system in the first place?
    System is more than the ILS today
    Quality content can be organized in environments not as friendly as an ILS
    Systems are not always organizing books or traditional content any longer
    The new tools we give end-users to find materials can actually create a digital divide
  • 4. What Elements Do We Look for in a Web Interface?
  • 5. Interface Elements
    Does it appeal to the eye?
    Does it “feel” good?
    Is it functional, intuitive, require little effort, etc.
    Can I find it to use it?
    Can I find what I want when I get there?
    Interfaces should be balanced and contain all 3 elements!
  • 6. Exceptions to the Rules
    One element of the interface can trump all others
    Flash sites
    Minimalist Design
  • 7. Information Architecture
    The First Half of the Development Process
  • 8. What is Information Architecture (IA)?
    Information Design & Presentation
    Human Information Behavior (HIB) plays a role
    Structuring, Organizing and Labeling
    Controlled Vocabularies
    SEO & Search Log Analysis
    Ethnography & Usability Engineering
    Human Computer Interaction (HCI) borders and sometimes encompasses IA
    Information architecture for the World Wide Web" by Peter Morville & Louis Rosenfeld. O’Reilly, 2006.
  • 9. IA-related Fields
    Usability Engineering/HCI
    Interaction/Experience Design
    Software Development
    Web Development
    Web Programming
    Enterprise Search/KM
    Content Management
  • 10. What Does IA Involve?
    Creating site structure
    Site maps, wire diagrams, prototypes
    Site Navigation
    Labels, icons, categories
    Organization of Content
    Taxonomies, Controlled Vocab, Metadata
    Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    Building is usually done by developer
  • 11. Site Map
  • 12. Wire Diagram
  • 13. Mock-up
  • 14. PrototypingTools
    Photoshop, Fireworks
    Mindmapping Tools
  • 15. Taxonomies, Controlled Vocabularies & Metadata
    Primary tools used in organization of site content
    Important in new ILS as you often have more control over the organization of content
    CMS and ILS are beginning to merge providing new opportunities (See, VTLS Chamos)
    Vocabulary tools facilitate search and enable findability
  • 16. Taxonomy & Content Tools
    Factiva Synaptica
    Web Choir
    Term Tree
    Data Harmony
  • 17. Findability*
    What About this Idea?
    *This is a term I credit to Peter Morville not myself.
  • 18. Class Exercise
    Was it Churchill who said, democracy is the worst political system, except for all the others?
    Need reputable cite-able source (NOT wikipedia)
    The top joint of the last two fingers of my right hand have turned red and swollen. What does it mean?
  • 19. Findability Involves
    Search Engine Ranking
    Site Optimization
    Pathways – Where they Arrive From
    Search Log Analysis
    Site Analytics
    This only gets them toyour site!
  • 20. Findability Within the Site
    Search Engine
    Sound Structure and Navigation
    Auto-complete functions
    Enhanced Web Programming
    Advanced Algorithms
    “If you like this, you might try…”
    Social Networking
  • 21. Usability & Testing
    The Second Half the Development Process
  • 22. Site & Design Testing
    Emerging as a field distinct from IA
    HCI – Human Computer Interaction
    Often overlaps with IA
    HCI Involves
    Usability Evaluation
    Design and development efforts
  • 23. User Behavior
    How People View the Web:
    Muddle through
    Quick click through links
    The free nature of the web encourages this while discouraging planning or structuring searches
    Dialog Classic as an example
  • 24. How Users View Pages
  • 25.
  • 26. Usability Guidelines
    Current location within the site is shown clearly
    Link to the site's main page is clearly identified
    Major/important parts of the site are directly
    accessible from the main page
    Site map is provided for a large, complex site
    Easy to use Search function is provided, as needed
    Functions are clearly labeled
    Essential functions are available without leaving the site
    Plug-ins are used only if they add value
    MIT Usability Guidelines.
  • 27. Usability Guidelines Cont.
    User Controls
    User can cancel any operation (Forgiveness)
    Clear exit point is provided on every page
    Small page size
    All appropriate browsers are supported
    Online Help & User Guides
    Site is designed to require minimal help and instructions
    Help and instructions, if needed, are easily accessible
    MIT Usability Guidelines.
  • 28. Usability Guidelines Cont.
    Language & Content
    Related information or tasks are grouped:
    - on the same page or menu
    - in the same area within a page
    Language is simple, without jargon
    Paragraphs are brief
    Links are concise, expressive, and visible--not buried in text
    MIT Usability Guidelines.
  • 29. Usability Guidelines Cont.
    The same word or phrase is used consistently to describe an item
    Link reflects the title of the page to which it refers
    Aesthetics & Design
    MIT Usability Guidelines.
  • 30. Why Usability Studies are Important to the Systems Librarian
    Debunk your assumptions projected on end-user
    Study results are beneficial to other libraries selecting ILS
    Studies in library science are often poorly designed (or non-existent)
    Improve web page or sites designed to bring users to ILS
    Improve systems beyond ILS (digital libraries, repositories, etc.)
    Usability studies = publishing
  • 31. Usability Testing Methods
    Generally use both qualitative and quantitative methods in testing
    Small sample sizes
    Sample sizes can often lack representative integrity
    Example: A Number of LIS studies use LIS Grad Students. What is the problem with this?
  • 32. Usability Testing Methods Cont.
    Normally testing is not meant to have the rigidity we might see in fields such as medical science
    Jacob Nielsen – Heuristic Evaluation & “5 users is enough”
    • Sample size might not be representative
    • 33. Level of expertise in users can play a role as illustrated via Novice to Expert Ratio
  • Quantitative Usability Testing*
    Task Analysis (can be timed)
    GOMS (Goals, Operator, Methods, Selection)
    Keystroke Modeling
    Software Tracking (eye tracking, Morae)
    Remote Usability Testing
    Site Usage Logs
    Can be quantitative or qualitative depending on study design.
  • 34. Qualitative Testing
    Card Sort
    Cognitive Walkthrough
    Field Study/ethnography
    Focus Groups
    Interview (structured, semi-structured, unstructured)
  • 35. Informal Testing
    Steve Krug “Do they get it?”
    Key Task Assignment
    One-on-one interviews
    Paper Prototypes
  • 36. Usability Testing VA 2010
    Prior ethnography – 5 site visits
    Small sample – 25 physicians or less
    Questionnaire – use analysis
    Semi-structured interviews
    Prototype Mock for walkthrough
    Task/time analysis
  • 37. Summary Points
    Bringing it all Together
  • 38. Back to the ILS
    Definition of ILS is broad today and involves a number of interfaces you may have control over
    The principles of usability are applicable to ILS Evaluation and Selection
    User studies and testing can provide a means for solid feedback from end-users
    User studies and testing can provide you with a set of heuristics for evaluation and selection of new ILS or development of ILS and/or web interface
    There are employment opportunities in these fields