The purpose of this paper is to investigate usability testing methods currently in use outside of library science, primarily in the business world, and to find important techniques that can be applied to library science to improve usability testing in libraries.
Objectives are achieved through a review of the business literature on qualitative and quantitative web site usability testing. The approach to the topic is based on an assumption that businesses are constantly refining their testing methods in order to make a profit; therefore, their testing methods are evolving and may ultimately be more efficient and effective than the techniques currently in use in libraries. Because businesses are dependent on consumer choice, they must provide user‐friendly web interfaces developed out of usability testing.
The findings of this paper illustrate that there are many useful kernels of information about testing that can be gleaned from the business literature and applied to testing in a library environment. Testing methods not in use in libraries that are covered include: process‐oriented testing, side‐by‐side testing, hybrid testing, and unique qualitative data gathering methods.
There are many testing methods discussed in this paper that can be implemented in libraries. The paper suggests how these methods can be adapted to fit a library testing setting and improve the current testing process in place in most libraries. Improved testing methods will ultimately result in improved web site interfaces, which will increase user access to information and help libraries fulfill their missions to make information and online resources accessible to all.
Usability testing methods currently not in use in libraries are proposed. The methods discussed can help librarians change and improve their testing methodologies in order to help libraries compete in the increasingly crowded information marketplace.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited