The flight plan of a digital initiatives project, part 2: Usability testing in the context of user-centered design
– To provide the results of research to evaluate the usability of a University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries digital initiatives project that provides online access to historical Aerial Photographs of Colorado.
– This paper describes usability testing conducted as a part of a user‐centered redesign. The three stages of the evaluation – a requirements analysis, a heuristic evaluation, and user testing – are explained and the findings are discussed.
– The usability testing revealed the needs of the project's target user group and identified issues with the interface that will be addressed in its redesign. It has also contributed to the larger understanding of how researchers use digital Aerial Photographs and their preferred methods of access and desired functionalities.
– Results from the study will be used to guide the redesign of the Aerial Photographs of Colorado digital library and can be generalized to add to a broader understanding of the usability requirements for a digital library of geospatial materials. Libraries providing a digital collection of geospatial materials may use these findings to inform design decisions.
– Much research has been done on the use and evaluation of digital libraries, but few articles have reported on usability studies of online collections of cartographic materials similar in structure to Aerial Photographs of Colorado. It is hoped that these findings will be instructive to librarians designing and evaluating similar digital libraries.