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Scoping out success for your users: When more options lead to less confusion

A talk by Emily King at edUi 2016

About the Talk

October 24, 2016 1:45 PM

Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville, VA

Like many libraries, the College of Southern Nevada tries to make the library website as user-centered as possible, but, with a user population that is unfamiliar and uncomfortable with academic research, our single search option produced an overwhelming amount of results for our users.

To address this concern, we ditched the focus of a single search box in favor of app-like buttons that map to scoped searches commonly used by our patrons. The search parameters are matched to the terminology used by their instructors which is easier for our users to identify, and the results are smaller lists that are easier for novice researchers to parse.

This presentation will discuss the design process behind our deliberately de-emphasized single search box, the decision-making process behind each scoped search, what we did on the back-end to make this process seamless for our users, and what impact this has had on our users as measured by usability testing and instructor observation.

What you’ll learn: •How to take observational data from informal and formal user interactions and classroom assignments to identify specific breakdowns in your search interface •How to work with a project team to determine use cases for potential scoped searches •How to plan with a project team which of the use cases can and should be represented with scoped searches on a homepage without overwhelming the user •How to map those use cases into specifically scoped searches using current library discovery technologies •How to assess the success of scoped searches with various testing methods

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