18 Usability Resources for Librarians

Librarians are increasingly taking part in Web design efforts, usability testing, focus groups, and more in an effort to deliver an engaging user experience to their patrons. If you’re just learning about UX or you’re a seasoned pro these 18 articles, tools, websites, and blogs will help inform your usability initiatives.

Articles

  1. How to Fix the 5 Most Common Mistakes with Focus Groups
  2. Jay Eskenazi writes for UX Magazine about How to Fix the 5 Most Common Mistakes with Focus Groups. Focus groups are an excellent type of usability test that can be used to provide important insight into how library patrons use your website and/or catalog, etc. If your library is undergoing a redesign, you’ll want to check out this handy article which will alert you to the usual mistakes people make when conducting this type of test.

  3. Ten Guidelines for Quantitative Measurement of UX
  4. Richard Dalton writes for UX Magazine about Ten Guidelines for Quantitative Measurement of UX. This helpful article discusses viable ways to use quantitative data effectively when making user experience decisions. If you’d like to learn how to go beyond traditional usability tests to gauge the success of your website, you’ll want to read this article.

  5. Personas: The Foundation of a Great User Experience
  6. Kevin O’Connor, President of User Insight writes for UX Magazine about Personas: The Foundation of a Great User Experience. This excellent article provides a guide to the role of personas in marketing, product and service development and more.

  7. The Importance of Designing an Experience Culture
  8. Cynthia Thomas, a partner at Translator, a digital experience agency, writes for UX Magazine about The Importance of Designing an Experience Culture. This is an excellent article addressing the idea of developing positive experiences for customers by (re)designing the organization’s internal culture. As libraries are continually working to develop great experiences for their patrons, much can be gleaned from this helpful article.

  9. A Reference Service User Experience – Tell Me More
  10. Steven Bell at Designing Better Libraries writes about the patron experience at the reference desk in A Reference Service User Experience – Tell Me More. This insightful post wraps up his panel presentation at the Reference Renaissance Conference, and responds to a librarian’s query about how to make the reference experience more inviting and fun.

  11. Content Strategy & Writing for the Web
  12. Aaron Schmidt, Digital Initiatives Librarian for the District of Columbia Public Library, shares his excellent slides presented at Internet Librarian 2010 on Content Strategy & Writing for the Web. This quick presentation is a great primer, or reminder for anyone seeking to improve their organization’s website.

  13. The Evolved User Experience
  14. Alexander Negash, Analytics and User Experience Manager at the American Cancer Society, writes about leveraging social media platforms in design and strategy in The Evolved User Experience: Using social media technologies to drive UX design and product strategy.

  15. 10 Usability Tips Based on Research Studies
  16. Cameron Chapman at Six Revisions offers 10 Usability Tips Based on Research Studies. Each one of these recommendations comes with data and reports to back them up

  17. Quick and Dirty Remote User Testing
  18. Nate Bolt writes about usability testing for A List Apart in his article Quick and Dirty Remote User Testing. This is a quick how-to guide for conducting website user testing.

  19. 18 Dos and Don’ts Of Usability On The Web
  20. Mike Smith at Spyre Studios has published an interesting post on the 18 Dos and Don’ts Of Usability On The Web. If you’re considering a website redesign you’ll want to check out these helpful tips. Here are his top five recommendations:

    1. Do utilize a grid for your website structure
    2. Do Not forget your search form
    3. Do make your navigation easy to find & readable
    4. Do Not make your “contact” link in your navigation bar a mailto: link
    5. Do utilize UX Apps as much as possible for web tests

    Tools

  21. 24 Usability Testing Tools
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    W Craig Tomlin at Useful Usability gathers up 24 Usability Testing Tools, each of which are cheap or free apps to help you conduct UX tests on your website.

  23. 10 Tools to Improve Your Site’s Usability on a Low Budget
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    Dmitry Fadeyev at Wed Designer Depot rounds up 10 Tools to Improve Your Site’s Usability on a Low Budget. This quick post includes screenshots, feature lists, pricing information, and reviews for each of these ten apps.

  25. 25 Tools to Improve Your Website’s Usability
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    Sivakumar at Hongkiat gathers 25 Tools to Improve Your Website’s Usability. This is an excellent collection of free and low-cost tools to track and analyze user behavior on your website. If you’re considering a re-design, this post is not to be missed!

  27. 35+ Usability Resources for Web Designers
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    If you’re considering a website redesign in 2010 you may want to check out these 35+ Usability Resources for Web Designers. Steven Snell at DesignMag compiles a handy list of both premium and free usability resources to test out your new site. He also lists related websites and blogs, checklists, and articles.

    Websites & Blogs

  29. UX Magazine: High quality, curated articles that help to both define and inform the field of user experience (UX).
  30. Usability 101: Introduction to Usability: Jakob Nielsen’s introductory guide.
  31. Usability.gov: A one-stop source for government web designers to learn how to make websites more usable, useful, and accessible.
  32. Walking Paper: Librarian Aaron Schmidt’s blog is chock-full of usability tips, articles, and user-centered design advice.