UX-3833, Guerrilla test Robertson Media Center pages and equipment request process
Purpose: Assess usability and clarity of new RMc pages and equipment checkout pages
Stakeholders: users and staff
Testing date: 8/31/18
Participants: 5 UVA students
Methodology: “Guerrilla” testing, in which UX staff, some in tyrannosaurus Rex costume, invite students entering Clemons Library to spend 10 minutes of their time to improve a library web page. Coffee and danishes offered to all passers-by.
Project phase one deliverables were to create a landing page and second-level pages. Based on the content, design, and architecture, users are to be able to understand the following:
- Who the space is for (students, faculty, community members)
- What services and equipment/spaces are available to whom and how to obtain them
- This is a place for making, learning, and teaching
The protocol was developed to elicit responses to assess if the goals were met, and to test the response to wording for equipment check out that does not require reserving in advance.
- After perusing the content and images of the landing page, participants were asked what the space is for, and to describe the space using three adjectives. Their answers reflect a space for making and creating, equipment to use and check out, and help when needed.
- Four out of five testers described the space as “high-tech” or “technological.” The specific terms “creative,” “useful,” “3-D,” “VR,” “studio,” “check-out,” and “advanced media” suggest that the participants see a space for using and exploring new technologies.
- Participants used the terms “knowledgeable,” “helpful,” and “supportive,” and phrases such as “people to help,” “assists students,” “help you with stuff,” “classroom,” “tutorial,” “tech support,” and “equipment troubleshooting,” all of which convey help, learning, and teaching.
- One participant offered that “faces and names [under heading, ‘Who We Are’] makes people more approachable.”
- Other terms reflect favorably on the environment: “modern,” “variety,” “expansive,” “fresh,” “eclectic.”
- Four out of five participants correctly identified UVA students and faculty as the audience focus for the RMC. One participant thought RMC might be limited to “STEM or media studies majors.” Two participants also mentioned access by “the public” and “anybody outside UVA” but that they wouldn’t be primary users.
- No discernible problems with participants correctly interpreting the meaning of terms “No Reservations” or “First come, first served.” Similarly, the RMC equipment page heading, “Walk-up Equipment,” seems to provide enough context to be correctly understood. However, several participants expressed that they also assumed they’d be able to use equipment without training, or that there would be no lengthy check out procedure, or that there would be no need to sign out equipment at all. We recommend avoiding idioms and colloquialisms that may lead to confusion and misunderstanding, particularly for non-native English speakers. To ensure clarity we recommend using plain language phrasing, either “No reservations required” or “No reservations needed,” to be used consistently throughout the RMC and equipment request sites. Additionally, because “Walk-up Equipment” is easily misinterpreted, we recommend changing “Walk-up Equipment” to “No reservations equipment” or similar. Also please review the categories under that heading (for instance, video equipment and cameras must be reserved so instead belong under the heading, “Reservable equipment). Instead of “Browse the equipment collection” button use text more actionable like “Check out equipment” or “Use Equipment.”
- After having reviewed the RMC landing and second-level pages, participants largely correctly identified who the space is for and what goes on there. Participants were then shown the Equipment page and asked: “If you wanted to use a camera, what would you do next?” Three participants initially thought they would have to go to the RMC desk to check out a camera, and one participant wondered if he needed to use equipment in-house. Four out of five had to be directed to click on “Browse the Equipment Collection” to make a reservation online. Three saw the text, “Training & Reservation Required” and another thought they should search online for a tutorial. All participants saw the links for “Availability” and “More details” but two participants were still unclear what to do next. Most participants clicked on “More details” but didn’t read any of the text. They all saw the calendar and figured out the process of selecting a date by clicking on a green box and logging in via Netbadge. One participant expressed confusion about the difference between red and grey boxes on the calendar, and the use of the term “padding.”
- Recommendations for all LibCal equipment items, based on above results: Hide “Availability” since reservations can be made under “More details.” Change “More details” to a button, “Use this equipment” that users will see as an actionable thing. Review content and messaging about requirements and training on item pages to reduce amount of text. Highlight the Instructions tab (which no test participant clicked on). Describe specifications of equipment separately from the process to train and check out. Use short, declarative bulleted lists rather than prose to improve clarity and make text more skimmable.
||[Have tester examine the RMC page at https://www.library.virginia.edu/rmc]
Based on the contents of this page, what is the Robertson Media Center?
|What is this space for?
||Who can use it? Why do you think that?
||Who is this space for?
||What are three adjectives you would use to describe this space?
||What does the page evoke (friendly, techie, diverse, inclusive, bright…)?
||[Direct attention to /equipment and to “Walk-up Equipment”]
What does this mean to you?
Probe: How would you describe it in your own words?
(on-demand, walk-up, something else?)
|Does walk-up or on-demand resonate? If not, what does resonate?
||If you wanted to use a camera, what would you do next?
||Assess understanding of how to get training and how to reserve
Do they see/read “Training & Res Req”?
Go to Equipment
Go to Browse the equipment collection
View More Details or Availability
||[Go to Location = Brown or Music]
Based on the contents of this page, what can you do here?
[Focus on Dry Erase Markers or Microphone and descriptions]
What can you do here?
How would you describe it in your own words?
|Do they see “No Reservations” or Do they see “First Come…”
Do they understand it
Do they click on Availability
Are they confused?
||How would you rate your ease in using this page, where 1 is very difficult and 5 is very easy?
||Evaluate overall ease in using the LibCal equipment page.
UX-3834, Analyze Special Collections Tree Test Results
Purpose: Assess usability and clarity of proposed Special Collections website reorganization
Stakeholders: Special Collections users and staff
Testing date: 8/27/18
Participants: 36 UVA undergraduates
Enrolled UVA undergraduates were solicited by email from our queue of volunteers to take a 10 minute test for which they received a $10 deposit to their UVA debit card. An online tree test tool by Optimal Workshop was employed to help determine the efficacy of the proposed information structure. Based on previous testing, we created a simple hierarchy of 4 top categories, each of which had between two and six subcategories (see fig. 2, Tree Structure). Undergraduate testers were asked to complete ten tasks designed to assess how closely the information structure matched their mental models (see Full Test Results, Analysis tab). The tree test results indicate how many testers found the correct path on their first try, how many found on their second or third try, and how many failed to find the correct path; as well as how fast the tester completed the task. For an overview of how to analyze tree test results, visit Atlassian’s Tree Testing for Websites.
Summary of preliminary findings
- Overall success rate was 70%. Even without visual cues, navigation, and menus, participants are finding the correct answer at least two-thirds of the time, suggesting the tree is effective but may need some tweaking.
- Overall directness (going directly to the correct area) was 48%. Some participants are struggling to find the right path but get there eventually.
- Participants usually identified what they would find under the About and Donate categories. The Destination tab on the full results site shows that large numbers of participants (the green boxes) correctly selected these categories, and few incorrectly selected these categories (the orange, red, and white boxes).
- The Donate link is readily found and understood. 31 participants found the correct policy under Donate, and the average time to complete the task (5.52 seconds) was half the average time taken to complete the other 9 tasks.
- Almost half of the participants selected Class visits and instruction to complete a task about finding a map, suggesting that we should duplicate some information about planning a visit in this category.
- The Destination tab shows us that Online reference request was incorrectly selected 16 times (although it is not necessarily a bad thing that students opt to ask for online help when they don’t know an answer).
- Participants were able to correlate the term “artifacts on display” with Collections and Exhibitions (task 5).
- Participants were able to correlate the term “give” with Donate (task 6).
- Participants found the digital camera policy under Using Special Collections/Usage Policies and correctly interpreted that this policy would probably cover taking photos with a phone.
Deeper dive: task #7: “Can you confirm that there is a substantial number of William Faulkner papers in Special Collections?”
fig. 1, pie chart of task #7 results
Roughly half of the participants found the correct category, which is several levels down in the hierarchy. However, first-click data shows that an additional 34% clicked on Collections and Exhibitions but didn’t investigate Featured Collections, where they would have found the Faulkner papers. Most wound up in either Manuscript Collections or UVA Archives, so were circling in the right neighborhood but didn’t ring the right doorbell.
- Class visits and instruction seemed to resonate with undergraduates, so consider building up this popular area with duplicate links from Plan a visit.
- Online reference request is used to answer a wide spectrum of questions, so give this a high profile (possibly as a sidebar).
- About and Donate work well as top-level categories.
- Using Special Collections is a broad category that may need further refinement through discussions with Special Collections staff and/or further user research.
- Collections and Exhibitions may not resonate with undergraduates but may work for others with more familiarity with research collections. Featured Collections should be rethought to identify a current goal and purpose, which will inform how and where to present it, and may inform Collections and Exhibitions.
The UX team will factor in these recommendations to rework the information architecture.
fig. 2, tree structure
User Experience Project ID: UX-1922, Library homepage development
Purpose: Assess usability and clarity of proposed website designs
Stakeholders: UVA Library staff and users
- 2/22/17 – 2/24/17 ; 9/14/17 – 9/19/17 ; 11/15/17 – 11/21/17 (usability testing with UVA undergraduate and graduate students)
- 4/5/17 – 4/14/17 (online surveys of UVA students, staff, and website visitors)
Methodologies: Usability tests (3) and online surveys (3) to present iterations of Library home page designs to test usability and elicit feedback. Efforts were focused on search box location, carousel location and navigation, Hours page, Research page, mobile and tablet navigation, and link naming.
Summary of findings
- Hours are easily found and testers liked its new prominence
- Mobile version of Hours is easily navigated and was praised as “well-formatted”
- Improved visibility of search, which is a primary or secondary task for website visitors
- The “Ask a Librarian” brand is firmly established and the “Ask a subject specialist” link seems to be understood as another place to get help
- Iterations of new design were usually viewed as more attractive than the previous versions
- Mobile hamburger menu is more easily found when labeled “MENU”
- The Research page redesign was described as clean, efficient, logical, and organized
- Thumbnail images under the carousel image helped testers navigate content
Project status: Newly designed website theme rolled out 3/7/2018
Final reports (UVA only): https://virginia.box.com/v/2017WebResearch
User Experience Project ID: UX-2846, Analyze Tree-Test Results
Purpose: Assess usability and clarity of proposed website top level reorganization
Stakeholders: UVA Library staff and users
Testing dates: 11/13/17 – 11/14/17
Participants: 29 UVA undergraduates (paid)
Enrolled undergraduates were solicited via a banner on the Library web page to take a 15 minute test. An online tree-test tool by Optimal Workshop was employed to help determine the efficacy of a proposed information structure based on previous testing results. We created a simple hierarchy of 5 top categories for the Library website:
- About UVA Libraries
- Using the Library
- Help and requests
- Research and instruction
- Advanced technology
Each category had between three and nine subcategories. Undergraduate testers were asked to complete ten tasks, and were told it was possible to complete these tasks on the Library website. The tree-test results indicate how many testers found the correct path on their first try, how many found on their second or third try, and how many failed to find the correct path.
Summary of preliminary findings
- Undergraduates correctly identified categories about spaces (libraries, study areas, room reservations)
- Undergraduates correctly identified categories about searching for books and articles
- The category Advanced Technology was not well understood
- The task to find specialized software could only be successfully completed by selecting the “Advanced technology” category, but only 38% of testers selected the category immediately, and 41% of testers ultimately selected one of the other four categories
- Color printers and scanners (equipment) were not easily found under Using the Library
- 38% of testers found it immediately, an additional 28% found it eventually, and 34% did not find it at all
Deeper dive: task #8, “Find course materials on reserve for your class”
Only 12 testers (41%) navigated correctly to “Search course reserves” or “Search Virgo” in order to complete the task. Of the 17 that did not navigate correctly, 11 incorrectly looked for the answer under the “Help and requests” category (which may show a willingness to ask a librarian for help when they can’t find something on the website). Of those 17 failures, 10 selected “Research and instruction” (one of the correct categories) at some point, but still did not successfully complete the task. It took all 29 testers an average of 17.65 seconds to finish this task, which was considerably slower (by at least 8 seconds) than the time spent on the other tasks. Previous testing has indicated that some students are unfamiliar with the concept of course materials being held on reserve in a library. The high rate of failure coupled with the extended time it took to finish this task further suggests confusion with this concept.
The testing information gathered here continues to inform website organization projects. Some categories of information should be surfaced in order to be found by undergraduates, but other user groups (graduate students and faculty) also need to be tested.
Testing results: https://www.optimalworkshop.com/treejack/LibUX/uvalib2/shared-results/8xa6v522406acu7g2y3l3n0gu7x3nnf8
User Experience Project ID: UX-2368, Facilitate two focus groups with graduate students
Purpose: Investigate sources of dissatisfaction among graduate students
Stakeholders: Academic Engagement, Administration & Planning, Collections, Access & Discovery and other Library areas
Focus group dates: 11/29/17, 11/30/17
Participants: 11 graduate students (including one session with five international graduate students)
Low ratings by a small subset of graduate students in the 2016 user survey were a cause for concern, but root causes were elusive. Two focus groups were offered to assist with identifying issues. One focus group was limited to international students to learn of their specific needs. Most students were recruited from usual avenues (web banner on the Library home page; contact cards left at print stations). Others had participated in the 2016 user survey and agreed to future participation in user research, and several were invited based on past feedback they’d given. UX research staff created two focus group protocols probing on problems and resolutions, confusion or difficulties, type of communication preferred, and how the Library can better contribute to graduate student work and to their overall positive experience. The international students were also asked about specific challenges they face.
- Communication and connectivity are important elements to a positive graduate student experience. Graduate students want us to market to them early and often, and want communications and workshops that are geared toward them.
- Graduate students want document delivery service and they want us to be proactive, try harder, and care more about getting the paper and electronic materials they need.
- Library systems and policies are confusing and frustrating, especially to incoming students. Many navigate with the help of their peers. They want DIY short online video tutorials for online tools that can be found and viewed at point-of-need, but like in-person assistance with subject specialists for in-depth research.
- Graduate students want space for work and storage in libraries. Physical comforts impact willingness to use and stay in library spaces.
- Students with mobility issues can be negatively impacted by collection decisions that split call number runs between multiple libraries.
- International students matriculate with few expectations for library services beyond checking out books and comfortable study space; there were no notable differences in library experience with their peers from the U.S.
- Create a communication plan, to include physical materials, for incoming and other graduate students to convey services, policies, and contacts.
- Create workshops to engage graduate students in library services and research resources.
- Create short online video tutorials for services and processes.
- Consider providing scanning and electronic delivery of print journal articles to all graduate students.
- Explore possibilities to expand dedicated graduate student space in all libraries.
- Increase efforts to convey information about critical systems, services, and policies to graduate students, particularly incoming. Include basic information about online catalog, Interlibrary Loan, policies (borrowing, recall, course reserve), off campus access to online research materials, printing, obtaining a carrel, how to reserve a classroom, and stacks navigation.
- Increase in-person communication with graduate students about subject liaison program.
- Review tight stacks areas that may provide poor accessibility.
- Consider revising collections policies to keep all materials in the same subject together to enhance accessibility for students with mobility issues.
- Do further research to gather more complete data on the following:
- assess how the Library should communicate with graduate students;
- gain a deeper understanding of the specific needs of international students;
- determine graduate student priorities for document delivery, paging from other libraries, and other delivery services;
- assess what current graduate students wish they’d known as incoming students.
Final Report and protocols (UVA only): https://virginia.box.com/v/gradfocusgroups
User Experience Project ID: UX-1905, Focus group of undergraduate students to get feedback on the future Library Makerspace
Purpose: Assess general themes and issues relating to creating a creative space in the Library
Stakeholders: Library Services and Spaces
Test dates: 4/7/17; 4/14/17; 4/18/17
Motion capture suit
Participants without Makerspace experience
- 4th year, History and Religious Studies
- 4th year, Nursing
- 3rd year, Urban & Environmental Planning
- 4th year, Economics
Participants with Makerspace experience
- 3rd year, Computer Science
- 3rd year, Drama
- 4th year, Neuroscience & Biology
- 2nd year, Philosophy & Middle East Studies and History
- 3rd year, Computer Science & Studio Art
- 1st year, Computing Engineering
- 4th year, Computer Science
Lulzbot 3D printer
Three focus groups were held. One focus group had four undergraduates with no Makerspace experience. Two focus groups had seven undergraduates with Makerspace experience. Inexperienced participants were asked to give impressions of the terms “build,” “make,” and “create,” while experienced Makers were asked to give impressions of the term “Makerspace” and asked about past Makerspace experiences. All participants were asked what a Library creative space should help students do or accomplish; what makes for a good experience in a creative space; and the importance of whether or not such a space is student-run. All students also gave input on equipment, training, and design of the Clemons space.
Summary of findings
Project status: Clemons Makerspace is expected to open in advance of the Fall 2017 semester.
Project Files (UVA only): https://virginia.box.com/v/UX1905
User Experience Project ID UX-1687: Create, Launch, and Evaluate WhatUsersDo.com Online Test
- Purpose: Assess new home page design by non-UVA users
- Stakeholders: UX team
- Test date: 12/7/16
- Test participants: 3 online testers in the United States, age 18+, each using a desktop or laptop computer
- Methodology: I received three credits to run a remote test with WhatUsersDo.com. I wrote the test (see project files) and typed it into the online form. I was able to designate what device I wanted testers to use (desktop, smartphone, tablet), plus choose the testers’ country (UK, US, France, Germany, Netherlands), age range, and socioeconomic status. Testers were asked to view https://uvalib.github.io/pr
Prototype screen (partial)
ototype/ and use it to complete six tasks and rate their ease at completing each task. Testers were also asked for their opinions about the site. The testers used screen cast software which recorded their voice and keystrokes, and they were told to think out loud as they worked through the test. Links to the resulting .mp4 files and a summary of the test were made available for download.
- 3/3 testers had trouble locating subject specialist help from a Virgo screen. After a minute of clicking and scrolling 2/3 testers found the answer.
- From the Library Hours page 2/3 testers clicked on Collections when asked to look for a book, possibly because there is no search box on the Hours page (see fig. 1). One tester used the search box at the top of the Collections page to search Virgo, and the second tester used a Virgo link under the heading, “Ways to Explore” on the Collections page (see fig. 2). The third tester used his browser back button until he found a search box on a library page. All testers were able to successfully complete the task.
Figure 1 Library Hours page
Figure 2 Library Collections page
- 3/3 testers had some difficulty finding a library lab with reservable space, although each was eventually successful (in different ways). The first tester went to Reserve a Room under Spaces and Equipment, then clicked on Group Study Rooms (a link to the booking software). The second tester also selected Reserve a Room (but via the Services page). She scanned for the term “lab” but went back to the Services page when she didn’t find it. She then clicked on Digital Labs, Study Space Info, and again on Digital Labs before finding text about reserving rooms within the Scholars Lab. The third tester also went into Reserve a Room under Spaces and Equipment, then backed out to the main page and selected Explore Libraries and Labs, where he found text about reservable rooms in the Library Data Commons@Curry. It is reassuring that each tester found the answer, and it supports that we need to maintain some reciprocal links and different navigational paths.
- All testers began new tasks without navigating back to the main page, which reinforces the need for good navigation and design from every page.
- One tester confessed to being a retired librarian, so was quite familiar with terminology like “online catalog” and “journal finder”. Not my intended audience!
Project files: WhatUsersDo_Report