Usability inspection of digital libraries: a case study

Abstract

This paper reports a case study about lessons learned and usability issues encountered in a usability inspection of a digital library system called the Networked Computer Science Technical Reference Library (NCSTRL). Using a co-discovery technique with a team of three expert usability inspectors (the authors), we performed a usability inspection driven by a broad set of anticipated user tasks. We found many good design features in NCSTRL, but the primary result of a usability inspection is a list of usability problems as candidates for fixing. The resulting problems are organized by usability problem type and by system functionality, with emphasis on the details of problems specific to digital library functions. The resulting usability problem list was used to illustrate a cost/importance analysis technique that trades off importance to fix against cost to fix. The problems are sorted by the ratio of importance to cost, producing a priority ranking for resolution.

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