Designing effective tasks for digital library user tests: lessons learned

Designing effective tasks for digital library user tests: lessons learned Purpose – To describe lessons learned about the process of designing effective tasks for digital library user tests. Design/methodology/approach – Illustrated examples are drawn from eight separate user tests run over the course of three years during development of Variations2, the Indiana University digital music library. Findings – Four major considerations for effective task design are described and illustrated. Areas explored include iterative task development, design of authentic activities, recruitment of authentic users and how to deal with unrealistic testing scenarios. Practical implications – Lessons learned in task design are matched with examples that illustrate how to balance real‐world constraints with ideal testing conditions to gather useful results. Originality/value – User tests that consider a balance between real‐world constraints and ideal conditions are more apt to provide useful design ideas for complex systems such as digital libraries. Practitioners may use these guidelines to develop and run their own effective user tests. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png OCLC Systems & Services Emerald Publishing

Designing effective tasks for digital library user tests: lessons learned

OCLC Systems & Services, Volume 21 (4): 11 – Dec 1, 2005

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1065-075X
DOI
10.1108/10650750510629634
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – To describe lessons learned about the process of designing effective tasks for digital library user tests. Design/methodology/approach – Illustrated examples are drawn from eight separate user tests run over the course of three years during development of Variations2, the Indiana University digital music library. Findings – Four major considerations for effective task design are described and illustrated. Areas explored include iterative task development, design of authentic activities, recruitment of authentic users and how to deal with unrealistic testing scenarios. Practical implications – Lessons learned in task design are matched with examples that illustrate how to balance real‐world constraints with ideal testing conditions to gather useful results. Originality/value – User tests that consider a balance between real‐world constraints and ideal conditions are more apt to provide useful design ideas for complex systems such as digital libraries. Practitioners may use these guidelines to develop and run their own effective user tests.

Journal

OCLC Systems & ServicesEmerald Publishing

Published: Dec 1, 2005

Keywords: User interfaces; Digital libraries; Music

References

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