What words and where? Applying usability testing techniques to name a new live reference service
PublisherJournal of the Medical Library Association
Objective: A user-focused design approach was taken to develop a new ‘‘live reference’’ service at the Health Sciences Library, University of Saskatchewan. The name of the service, the placement of the links, and the design of a graphical button were seen as key elements in creating service awareness and its subsequent use. Methods: To ensure library users recognized and understood the label for the new service, selected library users were given an opportunity to choose a phrase that would best describe the service. The top two preferred phrases were then placed on the library Web pages as text and graphic images for further testing. Some pages had links in multiple locations to determine which placement worked best. Taskbased usability testing was carried out with participants who were unaware of the new service. Participants were observed as they completed seven Website tasks arranged in increasing levels of difficulty to see whether they would notice the live reference service and seek assistance. Results: The high level of recognition and use of the service indicate that the label name and link placement were effective with library Website users. Conclusions: Using user-centered design methodology helped ensure that the new live reference service was visible and used and demonstrated the effectiveness of the user-centered design approach for adding new services to an existing Website.