This is an exploratory study examining the effect that the images contained in Academic Library Web Portals have upon users’ perception in three areas: the users’ perception of the portal’s usability, the users’ perception of the effectiveness of the portal and the users’ perception of the quality of the information found through the portal.
The crucial concept of “image pertinence” (Hildreth 2004) was introduced in this study. Pertinent images are images that pertain to the textual information found on their mutual Web page.
This research was conducted in three phases. In the first phase, a study was conducted comparing the effect that high-image-pertinent academic library portals and low-image-pertinent academic library portals have on the users’ perception of the portals’ usability.
One hundred undergraduate students searched three sets of matched-pairs of high-image-pertinent and low-image-pertinent academic library portals for the answers to two ten-question information retrieval exercises constructed of questions similar to those asked at an academic library’s reference desk. Data collected and statistically analyzed included: the scores from the pairs of information retrieval exercises, the time to complete the information retrieval exercises, the mouse clicks used to complete the information retrieval exercises, the users’ perception of the use experience, the users’ perceptions of the information quality and the users’ statement of portal preference.
In the second phase of the study, student subjects rated 50 images drawn from a 250 image pool for their appropriateness in an academic library Web portal. These image ratings were examined to determine if there was evidence of image gender preference and an overall preference for images of people over images not of people.
In the third phase of the study, experts in the field of libraries and information studies were surveyed as to their perception of the usability of the same library portals the student subjects used in the first part of the study. The experts’ usability ratings of the portals were compared to the students’ usability ratings.
|School:||Long Island University, C. W. Post Center|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Library science, Information science|
|Keywords:||Academic library, Academic library web portals, Human-computer interaction, Image pertinence, Usability, User study, Users' perception, Web portals|
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