User research has been a key activity of the AquaBrowserUX and UX2 projects lately. In a previous post, I outlined a scope of user research involving library persona development, usability testing and contextual inquiry. The activities fulfil two general aims, 1) to bolster usability research capability and practice, 2) to evaluate specific usability issues of existing library services. The research involves various qualitative and quantitative methods such that richer case studies can be attained without relying on a single approach. We have just completed the development of library personas (approach and outcomes - two posts to come). Usability testing of AquaBrowser is currently underway.
One of our evaluation goals is to gain insight into how library services are being used in real scenarios involving authentic tasks. This post describes a pilot contextual inquiry, a field study of real users and AquaBrowser usage. The aim is to evaluate the usefulness of the system in a specific use context at the University of Edinburgh.