Website Navigation Usability Testing (2010) | User Studies


In preparation for the Libraries' upcoming website redesign process, library staff sought to discover whether users navigate the site using the expected menu items.

Participants were tested in the D. H. Hill Library Circulation lobby. They were recruited "in situ" and asked to complete 4 of 15 pre-defined tasks using a working prototype of navigation menus only. Each task required the participant to open a navigation menu and indicate which menu items he or she would select to look for the specified information. Participants were compensated with candy bars. Several participants completed more than 4 tasks.

The 15 tasks were divided between two facilitators. Tasks were given to participants in a rotating order to ensure equal distribution of tasks across all participants. Facilitators recorded up to four of each participant's menu selection in order of selection. A facilitator assessment of task difficulty was also recorded based on a difficulty rating scale.

Team and Partners


Several observations were noted with regard to menus:

  • Menus were learnable
  • Find resonated as a broader term than Search
  • Services menu worked well as a catch-all
  • Research Help was the most ambiguous
  • About was generally used as expected

Additionally, there were several site elements that were discovered to be easily navigated. Five problem areas were also identified.


Based on the findings of this study a series of recommendations were proposed:

Reports and Presentations

Last updated: December 2010

  • Feature a Tripsaver link on the Borrow, Renew, Request target page
  • Make access to Databases prominent on the homepage for those users who identify the term
  • Change Research Help label to Get Help to better reflect the intent of the menu
  • Promote link to Library Tools for Courses on Course Reserves target page
  • Organize maps/ wayfinding information by location
  • Make links to top tasks easy to find on the homepage