Usability and the evolving library website
Beseda, Addie Marie
The academic library website presents many complex usability issues, and most are affected by the ever-changing nature of digjtal information. This thesis explores these issues with the aid of usability testing on the University of Oregon Libraries website. Undergraduates performed tasks that reflect real library usage; the problems they encountered are summarized based on the usability measures of effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. The study found that although students were able to effectively use the UO Libraries website to conwlete tasks, they did so inefficiently, with many missteps before reaching completion. Similarly, although students were able to find the information they needed on the website, they indicated that they preferred search engines over libraries for research purposes. These results serve as a starting point for discussion of the relationship between the library website and the search engine, the necessity of background knowledge in information gathering for competent website use, and a strategy for making the Libraries website into a tool students prefer.