Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

User Experience and Information Architecture of National Library Websites
by Alshaheen, Reham Isa, D.Bibl., Simmons College, 2018, 214; 13425662
Abstract (Summary)

With the advancement of information technology, national library websites have become an essential vehicle for their users to access official information and library resources. They serve the general public from different countries, age groups, ethnicities, and educational levels. The purpose of this dissertation research is to examine the usability, user experience (UX), and information architecture (IA) of national library websites in different countries. Focal areas of investigation include: (1) the primary content elements on national library websites' homepages, (2) the extent to which various quantitative measures of heuristic evaluation and IA assessment overlap with those measures from task-based usability testing, (3) the extent of the impact of cultural and national origins on participants’ assessment of usability of national libraries’ websites. The research design of this dissertation study features (1) a content inventory of 28 national library websites, (2) a web IA assessment and a usability evaluation of five national library websites, and (3) usability tests for three national library websites involving 30 participants. The key findings of this dissertation research help to establish a list of common content elements on the homepages of national library websites worldwide and provide a concrete, practical, and feasible procedure to evaluate such websites. The results show statistically significant differences in task performance with the use of national library websites between different groups of users, such as those from different genders and educational backgrounds. Significant correlations were found between the overall participant satisfaction of a national library website and multiple variables such as the content, visual design, and information architecture, as well as between heuristic evaluation scores and participants’ ratings of some aspects of the websites.

Based on the specific results from various phases of the research, this dissertation presented detailed recommendations that could help to make national library websites more usable for all its users, including the first-time users across different genders, age groups, and educational backgrounds. Furthermore, in order to achieve a high level of satisfaction, it is recommended that national libraries focus on six factors affecting participants’ satisfaction: the quality of information, the trustworthiness of the content, the credibility of the content producers/providers, the website’s overall structure, the design, and the aesthetics of the website.

Another significant contribution of this dissertation research is its use of various methods used to evaluate national library websites and its integration of the results of the different methods to obtain a broader and more comprehensive understanding of these findings. Future UX research on national library websites could expand the research by incorporating the methodology used in this research, testing a greater number of national library websites around the world, and involving users from all walks of life.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tang, Rong
Commitee: Agarwal, Naresh, Oh, Kyong Eun, Robins, David
School: Simmons College
Department: Library and Information Science
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 80/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Library science, Information science
Keywords: Heuristic evaluation, Information architecture, National library websites, Usability, Usability testing, User experience
Publication Number: 13425662
ISBN: 9780438856356
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