User Testing the NYPL Website
Moving to New York for graduate school I needed to leave my beloved book collection at home. As an avid book reader having a personal relationship with my local bookstore for recommendations and weekly purchases, the loss was painful. I found myself in a difficult situation not being able to financially purchase books, sitting to read at local bookshops to fill the need. I was happy to discover the New York Public Library which successfully returned books to my life, allowing me to borrow physical books, as well as e-books not only for pleasure but for academic uses as well. However, at times I found myself struggling while using the library website for finding books I would like to read turning to sites such as goodreads.com or my amazon wishlist to find these. I also encountered cases in which I checked out an e-book only to discover that it can only be download to specific devices by USB.
I decided to user test the NYPL website, focusing on a specific use of the website, the material borrowing process. The methodologies used to test were a background survey gathering information about the New York Public Library members and website users, interview questions regarding the participants web usage and their familiarity with the NYPL website, real-world tasks combined with a think-aloud protocol including finding and borrowing a digital book finding a physical book and borrowing it, finding the due date of a book and finding out the hold state of a book, a LikertScale questioner filled by the participants upon completion of a task and an exit question asking what is the first thing they would change on the website.
Download the full report here