MLANET Usability Testing
MLANET, the Website for the Medical Library Association, is the "virtual association" for its members, offering detailed information about the association and access to selected member programs and services. The site also serves as a tool for educating the public and the media about health sciences librarianship and about consumer health information.
The challenge for the MLANET Editorial Board (MEB) and headquarters staff is to evaluate how well MLANET actually meets the current and evolving needs of its audiences. Because no user-responsive Website is ever "done," MLANET should be constantly evaluated to ensure it meets the changing needs of its users.
The usability testing in 2001 is designed to answer specific questions:
In 2001, the MEB and staff will focus on two main tests:
Donnelly V. Designing easy-to-use Websites: a hands-on approach to structuring successful Websites. London, U.K.: Addison-Wesley, 2001.
How to structure a Website with usability testing as your companion throughout the entire process. See also www.ibm.com/easy/.
Fleming J. Web navigation: designing the user experience. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1998.
This book was the first in-depth look at designing Website navigation.
Krug S. Don't make me think: a common sense approach to Web usability. Indianapolis, IN: Que, 2000.
What you thought you didn't know about usability, you really do. Fun to read, lots of common-sense information.
Nielsen J. Designing Web usability: the practice of simplicity. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders, 2000.
The guru speaks, and mostly we agree (but sometimes not). A must-read. See also www.useit.com/.
Pearrow M. Web site usability handbook. Rockland, MA: Charles River Media, Inc., 2000.
Pretesting sites from start to finish, with examples and usability study samples thrown in. A must-read if you are conducting usability studies yourself...and you never have before. We used this resource extensively.
Rosenfeld L, Morville P. Information architecture for the World Wide Web: designing large-scale Websites. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. 1998.
Eureka! Own this book.
Shneiderman B. Designing the user interface: strategies for effective human-computer interaction. 3d ed. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1998.
Used as a textbook on many college campuses. Chapter 16 offers a look at specific Web design issues.
Spool JM, Scanlon T, Shroeder W, Snyder C, DeAngelo T. Web site usability: a designer's guide. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kauffman, 1999.
Came out of extensive case studies and research from the mid-90s. See also www.uie.com/.
Wodtke C. Information architecture and user centered design reading list.
[Web document]. <www.eleganthack.com/reading/>
Miller, D. Seven deadly sins of information design.
[Web document]. Netscape.com, 1998. [Cited 11 Jun 2001]. <http://home.netscape.com/computing/webbuilding/studio/feature19980729-1.html>
Use search phrases like "user centered design" or "Website usability". Or visit the Google Web Directory "computers > Internet > Web design and development > Web usability."
[All "mini-reviews" by Kate Corcoran.]
Have a usability resource you would highly recommend? Forward to us and we'll add it to the list, with our thanks! Send your recommendations, or any questions or comments about MLANET usability, to Kate Corcoran.
Medical Library Association
Last Updated: 2007 July 13