A Journey to a New Library Website
Forstudents and employees of the university, professional community
Number of people in the team3 people
People in the library knew that the website needs editing. It was unresponsive and confusing. Students had difficulties with understanding the chaotic structure of the website; most of them preferred using search box to going through its contents.
After two round of research with more than 300 users, the library has a new website. The website operates in a trial run since 20 July 2016 and receive mostly positive feedback.
The procedure employed by the library
All departments were involved in the design
Members of the team responsible for creating a new website started with a design of its structure. First, they made a list of the original website’s contents and eliminated the parts which were obviously irrelevant. They showed the list to heads of individual departments in order to find out whether there is anything missing or anything that could be omitted. The librarians used Optimal Workshop tool for card sorting in order to sensibly lay out the contents of the website, inviting heads of departments to participate in the decision-making process. Approximately 30 people were involved in designing.
The first introduction of the website to users
The researchers asked 10 PhD candidates to evaluate the initial draft. The plan of a ten-minute-long interview eventually become a two-hour-long testing. The PhD candidates took interest in the topic and provided the team with a number of suggestions for improvement. The researchers, however, needed to collect opinions from more groups of students. They made a decision to use a fast and inexpensive online tool for testing called Usability Hub. Before purchasing the full version of the tool, they verified that users were willing to participate in this form of testing. They published a pilot test on the Facebook page; it consisted of 2 questions and was met with positive reactions.
Online testing helped to decide the final version of the website
The actual test consisted of 12 tasks and questions, which aimed to verify whether the design and organization of the website corresponded with the search logic of the users. Completing the test took nearly half an hour, which is why the respondents were motivated by small gifts as a reward. The researchers have continuously monitored the responses and integrated changes responding to recurring reactions in order to verify the potential of such changes with other users.
1 day of preparations
1 month of testing
12 tasks and questions
Trial run and launch of the website
The design was further developed for some time, taking its final form in the last two months. After they launched the website on 20 July 2016, approximately 300 people visited the website. The URL address of the library led to the original website, where one could find a link to its new version.
Keep in mind that...
- It is a good idea to think about various target groups when testing a website. We recommend to bring together a group of testers that represent both existing and prospective users.
- There is no clear answer to the question of what is the ideal number of testers in user testing. Testing with users will, generally, give the researcher a richer feedback while it is enough to conduct fewer tests.
- Before launching the website, we recommend to test the intended innovation on a small sample of users. The testing can help you to find any potential problems. It is a source of valuable feedback and the library can save a lot of time and financial resources by discovering the problems in the early stage of development.
Do you need any advice on the procedure?
Contact Tereza Bártová (tereza.bartovacvut.cz">tereza.bartovacvut.cz) or Eliška Neprašová (eliska.neprasovacvut.cz).