October 31, 2007

Putting Evidence-based practice to work

Posted in IL, il2007, presentations tagged at 9:02 am by Robin

Frank Cervone started this presentation with an overview of what “evidence-based practice” is – it’s essentially the rigorous use of data from various sources to drive web feature/application/design decisions. He listed the fundamental ideas of evidence-based practice as studying a particular problem using focus groups, surveys and direct observation usability studies, contrasting your results with other studies and then combining results to better understand the problem and, hopefully, the solution. He went through a discussion of HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) principles and discussed levels of evidence, from the peer reviewed, rigorous studies in the literature to the casual anecdotal evidence from the public services staff. The “big issue” from his work with all of this is that we should be designing for a world where our users don’t have to come to the library site – because they won’t. We’ll have to be where our users are!

Amanda Hollister did the last bit of the presentation on her academic library’s use of breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are a way to track what pages you have visited in your visit to a site. We have breadcrumbs at the top of our staffweb pages. They used a dynamic, page-based system from Yasure media that they then customized to keep the path data (the route visitors took to get to various pages on the site) so that they could analyze it and streamline their site in response.  The methods – and results – were really pretty interesting. It seemed to provide a LOT more information then the standard web log analyzing software.

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