The Seattle Public Library Foundation sought to provide funding for a small group of library staff to learn about website usability. The goal of the one-day training was to develop a foundation of UX competencies within the organization that could be used to improve the library’s website.
Blink sought to provide participants with the tools necessary to plan, conduct, and analyze their own usability studies. Our custom training covered four areas:
- User Centered Design Overview
Blink asked attendees to think about usability as one piece of a broader User Centered Design (UCD) process. We covered the rationale behind UCD and gave an overview of six core UX disciplines. From there, we went in-depth into best practices for creating web content and developing information architecture.
- Planning a usability study
The library staff members in the training collaboratively developed a plan for conducting a usability test on one of three sections of The Seattle Public Library’s website. First, they were asked to think about potential stakeholders. Next, participants identified project objectives and translated them into practical research questions. Participants used these research questions to create scenarios and tasks for usability testing. In addition, participants were asked to come up with data metrics and a target user profile for their study. Throughout the day, participants cycled back to their plans based on resources provided by Blink. At the end of the day, The Seattle Public Library had a great start on plans for conducting three different usability tests.
- Running a usability study
To help The Seattle Public Library better understand how to make certain their future usability studies are successful, we included a discussion of tools and tips for collecting data. Blink provided specific strategies for interacting with participants throughout testing sessions to help elicit objective and detailed website feedback. Participants then practiced gathering data by implementing the study tasks they developed earlier in the day.
- Analyzing usability testing data
The workshop ended with a set of data analysis exercises. Using data from a previous Blink study, participants viewed a series of video clips, identified relevant usability issues, and suggested recommendations. In addition, we discussed strategies for organizing data to make the analysis process easier and more efficient.