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Usability Testing for Library Web Sites: A Hands-On Guide
Elaina Norlin and CM Winters
Item Number: 978-0-8389-3511-8
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $36.00
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6" x 9"
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-3511-8
Year Published: 2002
Unless you're the librarian who set them up, online library services can be hard to navigate. In fact, many users give up in frustration without ever finding what they're looking for. Nowadays, many of the search and retrieval services that previously were database-driven are now Web-based and part of the library's official Web site. So as libraries increasingly use the Web to deliver both in-house and remote services online, it is critical that their sites are engaging, easy to navigate, and created with the end user—the library customer—in mind.

This soup to nuts guide will help beginners and experts alike to determine, in a systematic way, how well their Web sites are performing for their customers. Applying the best practices of usability testing, you will learn how to gauge:

  • How easy it is for new users to learn how to navigate and use the site
  • How easy it is for trained users to interact with it
  • How effective the site is in pointing users to the information they're looking for
  • Whether or not users are motivated to use the technology
The expert author team walks you through not only the process of performing usability testing, but also creating allies among decision-makers to support testing, revisions inspired by collected data, and cost management. For all types of libraries, this step-by-step manual is a sure-fire tool for creating a winning Web site for savvy library customers.
Table of Contents

    1 Foundations of Usability Testing
    2 Web Design Guidelines
    3 Getting Buy-in
    4 Preassessment and Planning
    5 Preparing and Evaluating the Usability Test
    6 Usability Testing Example
Additional Readings

About the Author
Elaina Norlin is the Undergraduate Librarian at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She served on the University of Arizona "Access 2000" project, which redesigned the university's Web site with usability testing. Based on that experience, Norlin has conducted presentations around the country on how to conduct usability testing efficiently, effectively, and inexpensively. She received her master's degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign.

CM! Winters is currently a doctoral candidate in the School of Information Studies at Florida State University in Tallahassee. After receiving her master's degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign, she completed the Chicago Library Resident Program. Winters was recently selected for the first group of Gates Millennium Scholars, an initiative sponsored by the Gates Foundation.
“...should become a bible for library web developers and administrators...The recommendations are solid, and the process they provide should serve as a model to clean up the mess many library sites are... This title is so strong that every library with a website needs to buy it and implement the process of testing their site to meet to meet user needs.”
—The Wired Librarian’s Newsletter

“This brief book confines itself to a topic that is becoming more and more important to libraries: Web-site design, its ease of navigation, and requirements for maintenance.”
—School Library Journal

“...this book contains useful information for those who want to begin exploring usability testing for their library web site.”
—Library Journal

“ this book if you are just starting out...”

“...presents the fundamentals of developing a project, including basic web design guidelines, collaboration for staff buy-in on redesigns, pre-assessment and planning, developing usability instruments, and examples of usability tests. The strength of this concise volume is that it informs the library website developer about the best principles of usability testing.”

“...this brief guide will help any organization to conduct basic, low-budget usability testing of their Web sites.”
— ONLINE Magazine

“...will surely make the job of designing and maintaining a web site easier for librarians and educators.”

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