Usability in the Library: Individual University Library Websites

About the Project

Project Overview: Tests conducted from Jan 2006 - May 2006, December 2007, June 2008 - August 2008 by various groups.

Methodologies: Heuristic Evaluation, Visual Analysis, Use Statistics, Formal User Testing using design mockups, Informal "Guerilla" User Testing, Focus Groups, Surveys, Card Sorting.

The University Library Gateway is the main portal for all of the University Library websites. The reports listed here reflect user tests for specific parts of the website.

The Art, Architecture & Engineering Library's current website ( was launched in the Fall of 2004. With various functionality changes on the horizon, a full round of user-testing was conducted in order to determine how to best implement these changes with the needs of the end-user in mind. The design objective was to incorporate a new article and general search box that was created for the University Library webpage. Due to the size of the new search box, it was clear that a homepage redesign would be required. The group took this opportunity to assess the entire homepage for efficiency and usability.

The Askwith Media Library ( has recently introduced an online booking service that allows patrons to reserve media materials online for classroom instruction and personal use. Staff and Faculty have special permission to access the online booking service via Mirlyn.

The Policies Database ( submission form is a soon to be released system by which a new policy is filed, approved, stored and made available. The form was in need of testing for launch to the administrative staff at the Libraries.

The Staff Intranet is a gateway to various library staff administrative information and tasks. It suffers from usability, findability and accessibility problems.

AAEL: Overview for 2006 Report (Jan 2006 – May 2006)

Link to pdf

This is an overview report, which includes brief descriptions and findings from all parts of this study and a final recommendation.

Askwith: Guerilla Test of Advance Media Booking Service (November 2007 - December 2007)

Link to pdf

The purpose of this test was to assess the overall usability of the Advance Media Booking interface, to identify any common problems users encountered with the interface, and recommend possible changes to improve the interface.

Askwith: Survey (November 2007 - December 2007)

Link to pdf

The purpose of this test was to follow up on the Guerilla Test of Advance Media Booking and assess the overall usability of the Advance Media Booking interface.

Policies Database: Heuristic Evaluation (June 2008)

Link to pdf

The goal for these evaluations was to reveal a preliminary set of issues pertaining to the usability, functionality and aesthetics of the Policies Database, and to facilitate prioritizing further benchmarks.

Policies Database: Guerilla Test (June 2008)

Link to pdf

Four significant issues were identified related to terminology, iconography and navigation. Recommendations for changes to link labels and placement of global navigation links were made.

Staff Intranet: Focus Group (July 2008)

Link to pdf

Intranet usage characteristics, frequently used features and recommendations for changes and additions were identified.

Staff Intranet: Card Sorting (August 2008)

Link to pdf

To determine staff opinions and trends about categories and labeling, and see if participants had ideas of new features and content.

Staff Intranet: Internet-based Survey (August 2008)

Link to pdf

To determine staff opinions about particular category labels, and see if participants have ideas about new labels and content.

Page maintained by Suzanne Chapman
Last modified: 03/17/2013