Introduction In 2012 University of Calgary (U of C) Libraries and Cultural Resources implemented a new webpage, establishing new standards for design. Branch library webpage redesign followed. The new standards, as well as changing needs and usage created an opportunity for the Health Sciences Library (HSL) to significantly rework their webpage. To ensure that the new design was easy for users, a usability study was conducted.
Methods Following a do-it-yourself usability protocol, eight participants (four faculty, four students) were asked to complete eight tasks using a mock-up of the redesigned webpage. A think-aloud protocol was used. The participant’s thoughts and pathways to complete these tasks were captured using Camtasia and then analyzed by two librarians.
1. Important information needs to be “above the fold”
2. Unified search, using article title, is the fastest way to find a known article compared with searching by journal title
3. Database is still “library jargon”
4. When looking at a list of recommended databases, users will scan for databases they’ve heard of.
5. 7/8 users had trouble navigating through the Research Guides
Discussion The biggest challenge of the testing was participant recruitment. The redesigned page worked well, and only small design changes were needed. The testing revealed key information about how users search that will be useful for designing future instruction. It also highlighted that work needs to be done to improve our Research Guides.