Putting Evidence-based Practice to Work
Frank Cervone and Amanda Hollister
The problems of website design:
web development/hci is an intricate mix of technology and design
- majority of librarians haven’t been trained in hci
- gaps in understanding the significant differences between the online and in-person experiences
the more an org. depends on its public for achieving mission, the more it should employ dialogic features into website
Evidence-based practice (andrew booth definition)
- data provides the primary evidence for making decisions, not anecdotal stories or “common sense”
- evaluation occurs early in the process
what happens now:
- decisions are made based on Beliefs of what is needed (often biased); assumptions, anecdotal evidence and preferences
- evaluation, if it occurs, happens afterward (too late!)
derived from evidence-based model of medicine
- study phenomena
- contrast results to other studies of same or related phenomena
- combine results
define problem>find evidence>evaluate evidence>apply results of evaluation>evaluate change>redefine problem and go back through cycle
Setting: context-where is this being used?
Population: who are users?
Intervention: what is being done?
Comparison: what are alternatives?
Evaluation: what does success mean?
Levels of evidence
first usability test in 2001
focused on Electronic resources/home-grown resource finder
how are people using catalog?
tried not to make assumptions
dispelled some myths
Looked at areas of site with highest reported difficulty or frustration
Restructured web development process
Web advisory group – reps from all areas of library
required reading list (usability research, etc.)
- in usability
- conducting a usability test
- other soft skills
- site usability has improved – proven by stats
- debates less rancorous about how to proceed; can always go back to data
- easier to develop strategies for incremental improvements over time – not locked into tight academic schedule
metasearch, e-journals, virtual reference, electronic resources
why should I go here?
Anecdotal evidence is good for identifying problems to look at, but usually comes from skewed user group – studies will show how representative they are;
Breadcrumbs: putting users on the right path
users are often “lost”
tool-based website design
dynamic, page-based crumbs – code found on google
temporary session cookie
code needed “minor” tweaking – endless path of crumbs
each xml crumb file traps:
pages visited, IP, page timestamp, does not collect off site pages
does not collect browser navigation
pick a page to analyze
put data into magic box; out comes user paths that end on selected page
can see # of clicks to the page
ideal paths and less than ideal paths
how can you nudge users back to where they meant to go?
Advantages of trapping xml path data:
- huge amount of data
- real-time usability testing
- no observer effect
- Doesn’t track sessions that leave the website
- can’t see user response (frustration)
Future directions: implement predictive track analysis
implement timestamp analysis
code for breadcrumbs: www.yasuremedia.com/Breadcrumb/breadcrumb.htm