Mobile Redesign – Usability Testing

Usability testing was an important part of our recent redesign of the IU Libraries mobile web site. Below are some of the things we learned by talking to users over the course of three usability sessions this summer.

The overall response to the site was very positive:

  • “Looks nice, is very clear and useful”
  • “Useful and cool, hours and locations especially”
  • “I’m impressed with how fast it is”
  • “I like that it looks like IU Mobile”
  • “I would definitely use this”

We also found some areas for improvement:

Problem: On the Home page, the labels “Find”, “IUCat”, and “News” were often confusing.

What we did: We merged “Find” and “IUCat” into one item named “Search Library Resources”. This was also made easier by the decision to change the homepage from an icon-based layout to a list layout (more room for labels). We also changed “News” to “Library News”.

Home Page Before & After

Problem: Users did not see the “All IUB Libraries” list option at the top of the Hours & Locations page.

What we did: We added a black header to the top of the page with the text “Browse All Libraries”.

Problem: The map on the “Hours & Location” page often confused users. They would not see the yellow and green icons to the right of the labels and didn’t know what the blue icon on the map meant. We wrongly assumed users would know that the blue icon was their current location and had not provided a key for it.

What we did: We moved the existing two icons to the left of their labels and added a new header directly above the map indicating that the blue icon represents the current location of the user. We also added pop-up windows to each icon.

Hours and Locations Before & After

The improvements resulting from usability testing made the final site much more usable and useful. Our future work will focus on expanding access to research tools on mobile devices, broadening the “How Do I?” section of the site, and improving the clarity of the “Hours & Locations” page with regard to the locations of services within the Herman B Wells library.

Author- Bret Davidson

DUX graduate assistant, Jan - Dec 2011