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Usability Testing Workshops Scheduled for November

The CDL, with the endorsement and assistance of SOPAG, is sponsoring a workshop this November designed to increase UC library systemwide expertise in usability issues and methods.  The workshop is aimed at library staff who are involved with online system design and evaluation, including CDL Evaluation Liaisons, members of the Melvyl Education/Usability and Services Transition Teams, and Heads of Public Service.  The list of CDL Evaluation Liaisons, appointed originally by SOPAG in January 1999, has recently been refreshed.  The primary responsibilities of the Evaluation Liaisons include:

  1. Share information about local user evaluation/feedback efforts, especially with regard to digital resources.
  2. Help, when appropriate, with the creation and implementation of feedback and evaluation activities that often originate at (and are resourced by) CDL, but need to be conducted at the campuses.
  3. Share and distribute the results of evaluation work with colleagues on their campus; occasionally collect information from colleagues.

Evaluation Liaisons, and in some cases, Melvyl Education/Usability and Services Transition Team members have or will be asked to help conduct usability testing on the Melvyl-T catalog, and features such as SFX.  Participants will also be ready to apply the skills they learn to other campus-specific projects.

The workshop leader is Jerilyn Veldof, User Education Coordinator, University of Minnesota Libraries in the Twin Cities.  Jerilyn has conducted many workshops and presentations on usability, is co-author of an article about usability published in 1999 in the Journal of Library Administration, and is also co-author of an article pending publication in the Internet Research Services Quarterly on the skills needed for successful web site design.

The workshop is based upon the premise that library web services are often built in the dark, and suggests that we methodically ask how we can really know how much of our interface design is helping or hindering our users’ abilities to conduct research. Evaluating the usability of your library online resources can ultimately make the difference between one that is easy to use and one that is full of roadblocks.

This full day, hands-on session is designed to give attendees the knowledge and skills to successfully conduct their own usability tests with no scheduling and minimal preparation. During the morning Jerilyn will focus on the difference between user-centered design and library-centered design and discuss almost a dozen ways to examine usability.  Then participants will learn the skills and techniques to administer one of these methods – the usability test.  Participants will create a usability test for a specific web site they are designing, prepare for the administration of the tests, conduct trial tests, and then analyze the success of these trials.

November 5, 2001, UC Berkeley campus
November 7, 2001, UC Irvine campus

9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Continental breakfast, breaks and lunch included

Selection process: Under SOPAG leadership, campuses have selected attendees from among interested staff including Evaluation Liaisons, Melvyl Education/Usability and Services Transition Team members, and Heads of Public Services.