Rachel Hungerford

rhunger@uw.edu | contact | resume

Lib Guides Usability Study: Site and content study

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The subject guides on the UW Library site provide students with topic-specific research guidance. Each guide is handcrafted by a subject expert librarian using the LibGuides content management system. The challenge of this project was to create guidelines for subject expert librarians that allowed them to redesign their guides in a way that addressed key usability issues while keeping in mind:
  • The subjective nature of each subject
  • Technical limitations of LibGuides
  • The complexity of the change and time required to make it

As a Usability Engineer for the UW Libraries, I managed this study, including: recruiting participants, creating a test protocol, moderating each of the ten participants, collecting data, analyzing results, creating a highlights video, making preliminary recommendations, and presenting to subject liaisons

  • Create a usability strategy
    • Meet with stakeholders to discern main issues
    • Write research questions
  • Conduct usability study
  • Analyze data & report findings
  • Generate preliminary recommendations & design rationale
  • Meet with stakeholders and liaisons to create a checklist for guide authors to make changes

Though this project is still in its implementation phase, feedback has already been received. A reference librarian approached us, relieved that the changes we recommended were being acted on, as she had issues in the past with guides that did not have enough subject-specific material. My team and I also received positive feedback after our findings presentation, and a poster for this project has recently been approved for the Teaching and Learning Symposium.