Usability tests conducted here consisted of card-sorting exercises, which involved website navigation in its entirety and shorter task-based exercises.
Card sorting is a useful and easy-to-put-together tool we used to identify potential glitches in the navigational architecture and overall flow. The administrator asked neutral, non-leading open-ended questions, including the “Why” drill-down that Amanda Stockwell describes in her LinkedIn courses. The primary volunteer for these exercises was a 75-year old male with some computer experience that includes visiting news web pages and checking email.
There were some surprising results to the card sorting sessions, for example, our volunteer didn’t know where to place “News” within the library website’s architecture. When pressed several times (Amanda Stockwell’s why, why, why), he said that he thought it was the library’s newspapers and periodicals section, and not news related to the library. These types of findings are extremely important to this site’s design. It shows that not every person or patron thinks about navigation or even categorization the same way. It’s best to be as clear as possible when labeling pages and creating headings.
Site Architecture Sort Analysis: We used the entire top navigational structure for the architecture card sort, and our volunteer tester compiled the cards into categories. This took a bit of time as there were 36 cards. Each card represented the exact verbiage of the link from the top dropdown navigation menu. After the tester assembled all of the piles, he named them as he would name them in the top navigation.
One confusing topic was “Technology,” which needs to change. The link is just “Technology” which could mean a host of things. Our volunteer thought it meant “software,” or technology installed at the library. The technology link actually means contacting the library for one-on-one tech help (phones, laptops, iPads, etc.). The page/link name is misleading and should be changed or be deleted.
Also, there are two Contact pages and two Directions-themed areas. The Contact page, located in the top navigation, contains the library’s address, a map, and a contact form. Yet there is also a Contact page that contains the staff directory. There is also an entire page dedicated to Directions, which is located under About > General Information. These types of overlap issues could easily be remedied.