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Article
Publication date: 29 November 2018

Isabel Mariann Silvis, Theo J.D. Bothma and Koos J.W. de Beer

The purpose of this paper is to provide an integrated list of heuristics and an information architecture (IA) framework for the heuristic evaluation of the IA of academic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an integrated list of heuristics and an information architecture (IA) framework for the heuristic evaluation of the IA of academic library websites as well as an evaluation framework with practical steps on how to conduct the evaluation.

Design/methodology/approach

A set of 14 heuristics resulted from an integration of existing usability principles from authorities in the field of usability. A review of IA literature resulted in a framework for dividing academic library websites into six dialogue elements. The resulting heuristics were made applicable to academic library websites through the addition of recommendations based on a review of 20 related studies.

Findings

This study provides heuristics, a framework and workflow guidelines that can be used by the various evaluators of academic library websites, i.e. library staff, web developers and usability experts, to provide recommendations for improving its usability.

Research limitations/implications

The focus of the usability principles is the evaluation of the IA aspects of websites and therefore does not provide insights into accessibility or visual design aspects.

Originality/value

The main problem that is addressed by this study is that there are no clear guidelines on how to apply existing usability principles for the evaluation of the IA of academic library websites.

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