Tennessee Tech’s library website may be changing its layout based on results of a website usability study given by a group from the Volpe library. The library’s web manager, April Crockett, said the changes will be for the better and will help people find what they’re looking for on the library’s website.
The library plans to study problems students and faculty face when browsing through the library online. By studying the problems, it is easier to help faculty and students access materials on the library website.
“We want to improve the research experience students have by changing the website based on our results,” said Cecilia Cai, digital access and discovery specialist for Volpe Library.
One issue students have shown in the study so far is getting an interlibrary loan, said Crockett. An interlibrary loan is a request for material the library doesn’t have readily available. The material gets mailed or emailed for the student’s convenience. Crockett said if the students in the study continue having problems accessing the interlibrary loan page, she and the web team will make a direct link on the library’s home page or will change the wording of the link to make it more understandable to students.
“Testing is one of the most intricate parts of developing software, and I am glad we are getting the chance to test our website” said Crockett.
Five people have participated, and four more are listed to take the study, said Crockett. One of the participants is a faculty member.
“We have had both graduate and undergraduate students to participate so far, so we are getting a diverse group of participants,” said Crockett.
Cai said the test can take an hour to complete but most complete it in about 30 minutes. The study asks participants to search for different research items and for online library resources, such as interlibrary loan.
Crockett and Cai said they would like to have more participants involved because the study only has nine participants on the list. The more people involved, the better the website becomes.