Library website usability
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Library website usability






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Library website usability Library website usability Presentation Transcript

  • Website Usability: A Window into a Learning Environment Lyn Leslie and Julia Gross Edith Cowan University Library
  • Paper originally delivered at Transforming Information & Learning Conference (TILC) September 2006 Making and Keeping Connections: Life, Learning and Information Networks School of Computer and Information Science Edith Cowan University 2
  • Academic library websites • Online learning environment for students • Need to follow sound design principles • Need to provide functionality and ease of navigation • Concerns existed regarding the current access to information resources 3
  • ECU Usability study • Action research process to determine design improvements • Evidence gathering • How users locate information resources accessible from its website 4
  • Research methodology • Jakob Nielsen’s usability testing principles • Usability tests with students • Across the three metropolitan campuses • Across disciplines 5
  • Student Cognitive behaviour • Cognitive behaviour • Information seeking behaviour • Student approaches to a research topic • Construction of pathways • Usability studies – web design feedback – information seeking behaviour – students’ approaches to online learning 6
  • Library Forum • 2005 ECU librarians forum • Many new online resource formats • Usage statistics were high • Need to review presentation • Presentation of Electronic Resources 7
  • Presentation of Electronic Resources • Focus on access to information resources website • Promotion of federated searching – Metaquest • Goal of semester one 2006 8
  • Research Methodology • Webscans of other library sites were conducted to identify preferred access options • Consistency of terminology and need to avoid jargon • Student involvement – usability tests 9
  • Jakob Nielsen • “On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If a website is difficult to use, people leave “(Nielsen, 2003, para.5) ” – Learn ability – Efficiency – Memorability – Errors – Satisfaction 10
  • Nielsen and Usability testing • Find representative users • Ask users to perform representative tasks • Observe what the users do – Where they succeed – Where they have difficulties • 5 testers is sufficient 11
  • Usability testing process • Four tasks targeting key sections of website: • Catalogue • Online databases • Virtual reference gateway • Internet search tools • Observation and recording results 12
  • Usability Tasks and Results Task 1 required the student to locate a specific book Task 2 requested students to locate two journal articles on the psychological aspects of web site design. Task 3 requested students to find a link to the Morgan Gallop Poll website Task 4 specific information about meeting with Nobel Prize winners 13
  • Website Design Improvements • A move from listing resources by format to listing them by action • For example – – Library Catalogue became find Books, CDs and more (Catalogue). – Online Databases became find Journal Articles (Databases). 14
  • Library website snapshot 2005 15
  • Library website snapshot 2006 16
  • Information Literacy • Website design problem or information literacy? • opportunity for observation • students’ approaches to seeking information on a topic. • Approaches • pathways chosen differed. The • students tended to be persistent • sound navigation skills. • Reading screen correctly on the was an issue • Baulking at the unknown was common 17
  • Constructivist learning theory • each student is individual • individual makes their own meaning of the information • rethinking of our approach at ECU • Usability Study de-brief • Information literacy opportunity 18
  • Online learning and instructional design aspects • ECU library website - a web-based learning environment • engaging with learners in an online learning environment • librarians are creating information rich learning environments 19
  • Usability Study Findings • vital data on web design, • usability • accessibility • redesign of the home page, – new look and feel that has been – enthusiastically received – re-testing in 2006 – problems students have with the site which relate less to design and more to information literacy. observation provided an insight into how students learn in the online learning environment of the library website. 20
  • Conclusion • The online environment provides a wealth of data on user behaviour • usability study methodology was effective • much scope for future testing 21