On November 4th, DLIG will be sponsoring an exciting session for attendees of the ALAO Annual Conference in Toledo, Ohio. The program, entitled “Using Usability Testing to Determine Best Practices for LibGuides”, will be presented by Miami University librarians Eli Sullivan, Jason Michel, and Andy Revelle. To sign up for the Conference, please visit the ALAO website at www.alaoweb.org .
Many libraries have adopted the LibGuides platform as a way of creating publically-accessible research guides designed to make locating library resources easier for patrons. However, little research has been done on the general usability of LibGuides, and none has employed the results of formal usability testing to devise a set of best practices for content and layout. This presentation will detail the results of comprehensive usability testing on the entirety of our LibGuides implementation, including the points of access to the guides from the library homepage as well as the content and design of the guides themselves. The presentation will also present a set of guidelines for guide design and layout derived from these tests.
The usability tests were conducted using Morae usability testing and market research software. The testing was aimed at assessing the findability of the subject guides from the Libraries’ homepage, the language used both on the homepage and within the guides, and the organization of the content within the guides. We were interested in determining if the “location” and organization was intuitive, comprehendible, learnable, and useful. The tests included a number of different design features for LibGuides in order to assess their effectiveness, including the use of a “quick start” box on the guide homepage, the amount of content on each page of the guide as well as the number of tabs on a guide. The testing of these elements allowed us to compose a set of best practices for LibGuide design and layout.