Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

Updates from the GVSU Libraries’ Web Team.
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Usability Test Roundup - January 2014

This morning we returned to our monthly schedule of usability tests with three students in the Mary Idema Pew Library. We focused on a few “benchmark” questions aimed at general article searching (find a peer-reviewed article, find sources on a general topic) and a few questions aimed at the redesigned request function in the catalog. The questions were:

  1. You are writing a paper for Writing 150 on whether video games and violent behavior are linked. Find some sources to get you started.
  2. Your Education professor has assigned you a presentation on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Find some peer-reviewed sources on this topic.
  3. Your Capstone professor recommended the book The Emotional Brain by Joseph LeDoux. Find this book.
  4. Your Anthropology professor assigned the book chapter, “All Earthenware Plain and Flowered” from the book In Small Things Forgotten by James Deetz. Find this book chapter.

The first two questions were setting the stage for beginning to test the Summon 2.0 interface next month. (We’ll have some more workshops/meetings about that soon.) One thing we decided to address based on our findings from that question was the label for the Scholarly/Peer Review button. First, there is an inconsistency between the label in Advanced Search and the label on the main results screen. In addition, most folks are looking for the word “Peer Review” and it seems to get lost after the “Scholarly” part of the label. I’m going to try to invert the order and make the label read “Peer Reviewed and other Scholarly sources.” Still long, but hopefully leading with “Peer Review” will snag more folks:

Proposed label change to Summon facet

The second questions tested the new request button functionality we launched in late December. No one had any issues requesting either ASRS or stacks books once they made it to a results page. However, we saw a few things that we need to do now, and a few we want to explore. First, changes that I will make over the next few weeks:

  • Remove the “Find Books” landing page that lives in the CMS. Now that the catalog homepage has the same content, we’ll send folks to the catalog instead of this intermediate page. This will hopefully eliminate the confusion of having both the Summon search and the Catalog search visible on one page, as it is on the Find Books page.
  • Change the label for the MeL link on the catalog homepage to “Search Other Michigan Libraries (MeLCat)” to be consistent with the buttons through the rest of the site.
  • Change the red heading atop the “Nearby on Shelf” page to black so folks don’t think they just had an error.

Things we want to explore or test, and would love your feedback on:

Proposed new search field in catalog

  • Change the “Nearby on Shelf” to not be a button, and/or change the label from “Nearby on Shelf” to something more along the lines of what people seem to be using it for: e.g. “Browse similar titles” or something. Because this button appears even in the results list, folks tend to click on it (they love buttons). Making it not a button might make them stop to consider its functionality a bit more, and that would be more useful if the label matched their expectations. Thoughts?

Running a usability test on our website every month is a lot of work, but it has helped us really hammer away at some of the big issues facing our patrons. Thanks for participating, and I look forward to seeing everyone next month!