NYU Libraries UX Lab


At NYU Libraries

EDS usability testing affinity groups

EDS Usability Testing Affinity Groups

Over the course of Spring 2014 I worked with a team of 8 to apply UX methods on various resources for NYU Libraries.  As a usability specialist, my role was to help with determining testing methods, recruiting users for studies, and moderating sessions, among other tasks. The main project I helped with was usability testing for LibGuides and I also helped with testing for other projects.

A/B Guerrilla Testing: EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS)
One of NYU Libraries’ services was EDS, which serves as a tool that indexes resources in a single searchable manner. Using Qualtrics we tested two interfaces; Interface A below was the existing EDS page with an added search bar, and Interface B was a mockup that included search bars for EDS and two database vendors to see if it clarified what was being searched.

Aside from aiding in creating the user test in Qualtrics, I was also responsible for recruiting participants around the library atrium where we set up with laptops and granola bars for incentives. Once we had willing participants I helped moderate test sessions, which were task based, and made sure were getting enough results for both interfaces. Once were done testing, we went through the results on our own  and wrote down things that stood out on sticky notes. As a silent activity we placed the sticky notes on a whiteboard and created affinity groups so we could determine common themes.


Interface A


Interface B

Usability Testing: NYU Classes
An updated version of NYU’s Learning Management System (LMS) was being designed but before launching it the team of developers wanted to figure out if they were heading in the right direction with their design. They had created a task based usability test so we looked over it, did a pilot test, and refined the script, tasks, and the overall test process to make is as smooth as possible. As the lead for testing NYU Classes I was tasked with recruiting participants (in this case, faculty that used the LMS) and scheduling them for a session. On testing day I set up an iMac with GotToMeeting so that it could record the session and the developers can observe the session remotely and take notes.

Usability Consulting: NYU Web Publishing
This is a service for publishing content online through WordPress.com for NYU faculty, staff, and students, typically for classroom use. Since it was still in being fleshed out as a service at the time we were asked to provide feedback about it so we did a pilot test by using it ourselves. It hosted the UX Lab’s blog, which had information about us and a blog section where we’d write entries about our process and tips for implementing our methods. We did a small user survey to see what readers’ thoughts were about our content and blog layout as well as documented what it was like to use the service Web Publishing to share with the pilot service lead.

Additional Projects

Walkabouts: Holistic UX
In an effort to approach the UX Lab’s efforts for NYU Libraries in an inclusive manner, we also implemented walkabouts. This entailed choosing an area in one of the floors at NYU’s Bobst Library and make notes about how it was being used, how many people occupied each space, the level of noise, if technology was working, and anything else that was notable. The walkabout notes were logged so that they could be reviewed altogether. This helped us became better acquainted with users and provided a holistic lens to library services.

Design Challenge: Library Account Login Page
A design challenge arose where we met with developers to design a login page for the library accounts of NYU and affiliated users. We started by reading user stories and thinking about how each login screen would have a different mechanism depending on the institution the user is affiliated with.  Within these constraints were were able to come up with a solution that complied with NYU’s Visual Identity guidelines and worked  for NYU and consortium users. A tweaked version of this design was implemented later on on NYU Libraries’ accoung login page.

NYU Libraries Login Page Mockup

NYU Libraries Login Page Mockup

The full reports for all projects are available for download: