Usability results from Team Catholic Portal

This posting lists the results of a usability study done against the “Catholic Portal”.

In a previous posting called “Usability testing” (dated February 14, 2011) a set of eight usability questions was outlined. Since then Team Catholic Portal here at Notre Dame facilitated six usability studies made up of five graduate students and one faculty member. These participants were scholars in philosophy and theology. We used the simple facilitator/note-taker approach. We employed usability software (Silverback), but didn’t use it to evaluate our results. Using our notes as well as professional judgement, we evaluated the results and came up with the following prioritized list of things to be addressed with the Portal’s interface:

  • 6 – set search filter to off by default
  • 5 – enable sending of more than one email at a time
  • 4 – clarify difference between canonical and remote [files]
  • 3 – remove autocomplete feature
  • 2 – re-do text mining language
  • 1 – tweak facets to be more descriptive or complete
  • 1 – retain links of original EAD file in local EAD file
  • 1 – respect my browser preferences
  • 1 – remember [search] results after creating account
  • 1 – make local EAD file the default
  • 1 – implement authority control (cross-reference) functionality
  • 1 – highlight search words in result [list]
  • 1 – explain what facets are
  • 1 – enable further search [refinements] after selecting “archival records”
  • 1 – confirm adding to favorites
  • 1 – add addresses and phone numbers to records

Once we have finished migrating our existing “sandbox” implementation of the Portal to production hardware, I will see about implementing the changes. Some of them require changes to the underlying VuFind software. Some of them require changes in wording.

Author: Eric Lease Morgan

I am a librarian first and a computer user second. My professional goal is to discover new ways to use computers to provide better library services. I use much of my time here at the University of Notre Dame developing and providing technical support for the Catholic Research Resources Alliance -- the "Catholic Portal".