Usability and UX at the University of Liverpool


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Talk by Jeff Woods at the Northern Collaboration User Experience (UX) Learning Exchange held at the University of Huddersfield on 17 March 2017

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Usability and UX at the University of Liverpool

  1. 1. Usability and UX at the University of Liverpool Jeff Woods University of Liverpool Library
  2. 2. Will be looking at: • Why did we do it • How did we do it • What did we learn • Where to next Usability study
  3. 3. Began early 2015 Cross-Library project group formed • Academic Liaison • Content, Collections and Delivery • Customer Services • Systems Initial focus on EDS branded locally as ‘DISCOVER’ Usability study
  4. 4. “to make informed, evidence based changes to our main resource discovery platforms, improving their usability and effectiveness, and therefore the Library service and student experience, in line with objectives identified in Library’s strategic plan” • How and to what extent our users were engaging with these platforms • How easy, efficient and effective they found it to locate and access content • If it met their information needs • What they liked and disliked We wanted to find out: Why?
  5. 5. 3 stage approach • Survey • Usability test sessions • Focus group discussions Philip, M. (2010) Do students want a one-stop-shop to help them navigate their way around the maze of library resources? A usability study looking at the beta version of Summon, the new library search engine at the University of Huddersfield. M.A. University of Sheffield. McManamon, C. and Smith, S. (2014). Library Search: survey, usability study and focus group report. Manchester Metropolitan University. How?
  6. 6. How? 1. Survey Survey • QuickTap survey app • Library staff with iPads roaming library social areas • Pop-up Library event • Online version (“soft launch”)
  7. 7. How? 1. Survey Analysis • 719 responses (1 every 3 minutes!) • Healthy representation of wider n • Free text comments coded and categorised • Excel based dashboard • Post survey staff de-briefing session
  8. 8. How? 2. Usability sessions Semi-structured search tasks • Task 1 – researching a topic • Task 2 – searching for specific, known items • Task 3 – researching a topic using an alternate version of ‘DISCOVER’ • 5 sessions, 20 participants in total
  9. 9. How? 2. Usability sessions Observation checklist: Systematically recorded the occurrence of particular, pre-defined search techniques and the use of specific features, facets and functionality Anything else of interest
  10. 10. How? 3. Focus Groups • Followed usability sessions • Participants asked to reflect upon their typical information seeking behaviour both during the test sessions and in a wider, everyday context • PGR facilitators
  11. 11. • Experimented with different approaches to survey • Twitter poll • “Coffee and Chat” format • Link to survey from OPAC • Focus group discussions but no usability test sessions How? OPAC review
  12. 12. What? Lessons learned: • Survey approaches • Recruitment woes • Focus group facilitation • Challenging assumptions – branding & awareness and need for open mind • Technical knowledge within the team
  13. 13. Where to next? • Need for iterative review • Responsive to the developing and changing needs of users • Applying ethnographic approaches to UX • different user groups • online content and spaces • Determine and develop methodology • diaries • cognitive mapping • semi-structured interviews
  14. 14. More information: Woods, J (2014). Discover: Survey, Usability Testing and Focus Group Report. University of Liverpool. Woods, J., Gillespie, E. & McManamon, C., (2016). Discovering discovery: lessons learnt from a usability study at the University of Liverpool. Insights. 29(3), pp.258–265. DOI:
  15. 15. IMAGES Jeremy Thomas: Jesse Sewell: Greg Rakozy: Levi Price: NASA: Rodion Kutsaev: NASA: Jeremey Thomas:
  16. 16. Any questions..?