From Usability Study to Innovation


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"From Usability Study to Innovation: Implementing LibAnswers at Loyola Marymount University" is being presented at the 4th QQML 2012 International Conference in Limerick, Ireland.

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From Usability Study to Innovation

  1. 1. From Usability Study to Innovation: Implementing LibAnswers at Loyola Marymount University Kenneth Simon Susan Gardner Archambault
  2. 2. Loyola Marymount University • Private Catholic University in Los Angeles, California • 5900+ undergraduates and 1900+ graduates • William H. Hannon Library Information Desk open 24/5
  3. 3. Research Question • What is the most effective way to provide access to our Library FAQ’s? • Specifically, a comparison of two products: which features of How Do I? and LibAnswers do students prefer; and which features lead to better performance?
  4. 4. How Do I?
  5. 5. LibAnswers
  6. 6. Auto-Suggest Feature
  7. 7. Related Questions Feature
  8. 8. Methodology • Conducted usability testing on 20 undergraduate students at LMU • Population equally represented each class (freshmen through seniors) and had a ratio of 60:40 females to males
  9. 9. Methodology • Used a combination of the Performance Test methodology and the Think-Aloud methodology
  10. 10. Methodology • Students given 10 performance tasks to complete at a computer twice - once using LibAnswers as starting point, and once using How Do I? • After each performance task, students given questionnaire measuring satisfaction with site
  11. 11. Performance Task Questions How to print in the library from a laptop How to request a research consultation How long can a graduate student check out a book How to search for a book by the author’s name Where are the library copy machines How to tell what books are on reserve for a class How to request a book from basement storage Where to access CRSPSift software in the library Can a Loyola law school reserve a group study room in advance How much does it cost for an undergrad to request a magazine article from another library
  12. 12. Satisfaction Scale
  13. 13. Methodology • Audio recorded and computer screen activity captured via “ScreenFlow” screencasting software
  14. 14. Additional Questions • How likely would you be to use each page again? • What was your favorite aspect of each site? • What was your least favorite aspect? • Overall, do you prefer LibAnswers or How Do I?
  15. 15. Performance Scoring: Speed • Start the clock when the person begins searching for the answer to a new question on the home page of the site they are testing • Stop the clock when they copy the URL with the answer
  16. 16. Performance Scoring: Accuracy Was the Answer… Completely Accurate: found the answer On the correct path to the information, but did not go far enough or took wrong subsequent path On the correct page, but did not see the answer (supersedes everything else they tried on other attempts to answer) Check off the one that applies: Pointed to a related question under the correct category, but incorrect page Incorrect and off topic Gave up: never found an answer
  17. 17. Performance Scoring: Efficiency • Count the number of times the person made a new attempt, or started down a new path, by returning to the home page *after* a previous attempt away from or on the homepage failed
  18. 18. Sample Scoring Video Site Speed Accuracy Efficiency How Do I? 46 seconds Completely Accurate +1 (clicked 1 wrong path) LibAnswers 36 seconds Completely Accurate +1 (clicked 1 wrong path)
  19. 19. Performance Results Speed Average (seconds) LibAnswers 40.55 How Do I? 33.90 Efficiency Total Wrong Paths LibAnswers 30 How Do I? 40
  20. 20. Performance Results Accuracy LibAnswers How Do I? Completely accurate 182 (91%) 175 (87.5%) Correct path but did not go far enough or took a wrong subsequent path 5 (2.5%) 15 (7.5%) Correct page, but did not see the answer 3 (1.5%) 3 (1.5%) Pointed to a related question under the correct category, but incorrect page 6 (3%) 3 (1.5%) Incorrect and off-topic 0 3 (1.5%) Gave up: never found answer 4 (2%) 1 (.005%)
  21. 21. LibAnswers Features Used Feature Number Who Used Percent Search Box 16 80% Auto-Suggest 12 60% Popular Answers 9 45% Cloud Tag 8 40% Related Questions 4 20% Change Topic Drop-down 2 10% Recent Answers 2 10%
  22. 22. Satisfaction Likely to use again Very unlikely Unlikely Undecided Likely Very Likely LibAnswers 0 15% (3) 5 (25%) 5 (25%) 7 (35%) How Do I? 0 15% (3) 3 (15%) 5 (25%) 9 (45%)
  23. 23. Satisfaction Overall preference Response LibAnswers 40% (8) How Do I? 60% (12)
  24. 24. Patterns • Overall, 9 of 20 performed worse with the site they said they preferred. • 4 of 5 freshmen performed worse with the site they said they preferred. Upperclassmen were more consistent. • Females tended to perform better with their preferred site; males did not. • 75% of the males preferred How Do I? over LibAnswers, while females were evenly divided
  25. 25. LibAnswers Likes • Keyword search “like a search engine” • Autosuggest in search bar • Popular topics list • Friendly / pleasant to use • Don’t have to read through categories Dislikes • Overwhelming interface / cluttered • Long list of specific questions but hard to find the info you want • Less efficient than the “How Do I” page • Once you do a search, you lose your original question • Autosuggestions are ambiguous or too broad, and sometimes don’t function properly.
  26. 26. How Do I? Likes • Fast / efficient to use • Everything is right there in front of you: “I don’t have to type, just click.” • Simple, clearly laid out categories • Organized and clean looking Dislikes • Less efficient than the LibAnswers page: have to read a lot • Too restricted: needs a search box • Have to guess a category to decide where to look • Limited number of too- broad questions • Boring / basic appearance
  27. 27. Sharing results with Springshare • Retain question asked in search results screen. • Add stopwords to search, so typing “How do I” doesn’t drop down a long list of irrelevant stuff, and “Where is” and “where are” aren’t mutually exclusive. • Remove “related LibGuides” content to reduce clutter. • Control the list of “related questions” below an answer: they seem to be based only on the first topic assigned to a given question.
  28. 28. Take the best of… How Do I
  29. 29. Take the best of… LibAnswers
  30. 30. But wait… There is another.
  31. 31. Take the best of… Get Help
  32. 32. The best of all worlds
  33. 33. Conclusions • Ended up with a balance between two extremes rather than one or the other • Think-aloud method: gave up control; no preconceived ideas could influence outcome • Sitting in silence watching the participants made them nervous- next time maybe leave the room and have a self-guided test • Efficiency is difficult to measure: moved away from counting clicks
  34. 34. Acknowledgements Thank you: • Shannon Billimore • Jennifer Masunaga • LMU Office of Assessment/Christine Chavez • Springshare • William H. Hannon Library Research Incentive Travel Grant
  35. 35. Bibliography • Ericsson, K.A. and Simon, H.A. (1980). Verbal Reports as Data. Psychological Review, 87(3), 215- 251. • Magnerism. (2008, Nov. 20) Think Aloud Protocol Part 2. Retrieved May 3, 2012 from v=dyQ_rtylJ3c&feature=related • Norlin, Elaina. (2002). Usability Testing for Library Web Sites: A Hands-On Guide. Chicago: American Library Association. • Porter, J. (2003). Testing the Three-Click Rule. Retrieved from e_click_rule/. • Willis, G.B. (2005). Cognitive Interviewing: A Tool for Improving Questionnaire Design. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  36. 36. Additional Information Presentation Slides • r Contact Us Ken Simon Reference & Instruction Technologies Librarian Loyola Marymount University Twitter: @ksimon Email: Susan [Gardner] Archambault Head of Reference & Instruction Loyola Marymount University Twitter: @susanLMU Email: