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Website Preview and Testing at the Library Open House

The new library website had a table at the Library Open House, at which we did some light-weight testing and previewed a live test site to visitors. It was a big success in that the table received approximately 50 visitors, 21 of which participated in the live test. The breakdown of testers included:

  • 10 undergraduates
  • 4 graduate/professional school
  • 3 lecturers/instructors/visiting scholars
  • 2 library staff
  • 2 other SU staff

Testers were directed to a laptop and asked to perform 3 to 5 common website tasks. Charles Kerns introduced the tasks and recorded whether or not it was successfully completed. All tests were recorded using Camtasia so we can replay them as videos and analyse how testers navigated the site to accomplish common tasks. The following is a list of some of the tasks we tested:

  • You want the email address of the head of media services in the library.
  • You need to know if you can renew a book online?
  • You need information about accessibility for a friend who is coming to the Art Library and uses a wheelchair.
  • What time does Green Library close?
  • How do you get to the Chemistry Library?
  • You need help with a really specialized research topic
  • You are working at home and trying to access a database. It asks for a password. What can you do?
  • You want a book that Stanford does not have?
  • You want access to the Monterey Jazz Festival Special Collection.
  • You need to know what citation management tools are available or supported?
  • You want to search the complete SULAIR site to see the different places that accessibility is discussed.
  • You need to find databases about women working in the United States?
  • You want to find out if there is a good place to study with a public computer near your classroom.

We tested on a total of 23 tasks and collected 107 data points recording whether or not users successfully accomplished the tasks on the new website. These data will help us continue to improve the website so that users can find answers and get excellent service quickly and easily. In addition to website testing, we displayed a rolling slideshow of the site designs and informed visitors that a new version of the library website is coming next year. Ellie Buckley and other members of the online experience group spent time at the table discussing the goals of the project and our process for developing a highly user-focussed site. The slideshow can be seen here:

Kudos to Charles, Ellie and the rest of the Online Experience group for their big effort in organizing the table and a successful test.