Usability Testing at Bobst Library at New York University

Purpose

After six years, the website has grown to almost 5500 separate "pages." There were 2,155,158 total hits on the library website http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst since Jan 1, 2001.

But how well does the current design and organization of the website serve the Libraries' users? As usability expert Jakob Nielsen says, "Usability rules the web. Simply stated, if the customer can't find a product, then he or she will not buy it." (Jakob Nielsen, Designing Web Usability. Indianapolis, 2000, p. 9) Is the current NYU Libraries' website user-centered? The Web Redesign Committee examined web statistics for 2001 at http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/stats/quarterly/2001/01/01/directories/library/bobst/

While 2 million hits sounds good, we weren't convinced that users were finding all the useful information which NYU Libraries staff spent so much time preparing. We decided to conduct a usability study to find out whether the design and architecture of our site was getting in the way of users finding what they need.

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