Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Usability Testing Project

We are fortunate to have Trisha Hansen interning this winter/spring with the Mountain West Digital Library. Trisha is a graduate student in the Emporia State University program and will earn her MLIS at the end of 2011.  Last fall, she approached Kenning Arlitsch and Sandra McIntyre about how she could learn more about digital libraries, and what has resulted is her extensive work on a usability testing project for MWDL, for which she will receive practicum credit at Emporia State.


This is valuable work, especially given the current migration to Ex Libris Primo for our search portal, and we are grateful that Trisha has contributed her considerable energies and enthusiasm toward it!  Many thanks also go to the University of Utah Marriott Library for agreeing to host Trisha in its IT Department, to Amanda Crittenden there for providing use of the Marriott's usability testing lab, and to Scott Eldredge and Brian Roberts at Brigham Young University Lee Library for providing a second usability lab and test subjects at BYU.

For more information on Trisha's project, see her "Mountain West Digital Library Usability Testing Project Plan" at http://mwdl.org/public/mwdl/MWDL_Usability_Testing_Project_Plan_v4.pdf. In it she discusses usability testing for digital libraries and explains why she chose three testing protocols -- heuristics evaluation, think-aloud testing, and feedback survey -- to delve into who our users are and how they are using MWDL. Please feel free to contact Trisha directly at trisha.hansen@utah.edu with any comments or questions about this plan. She will be delivering an interim report to us at the Digitization Committee spring meeting on April 27 and a final written analysis of her results this summer. In the meantime, please check this blog for developments!

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