Toward a Usable Academic Library Web Site: A Case Study of Tried and Tested Usability Practices

Gricel Dominguez, Sarah J. Hammill, Ava Brillat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Usability testing is an important element when designing useful, usable academic library Web sites. Since 2001, members of the Florida International University Libraries Web team have worked toward establishing a process that identifies user needs through usability testing. Starting with the libraries’ first Web site redesign project in 2001, the team has taken an active part in improving Web site user experience. After engaging in multiple redesign efforts, the Web team has developed a process that supports awareness of user experience through continual usability testing and feedback gathering. This article presents strategies and practices to measure Web site user experience, including classic usability testing methods (e.g., card sorting activities, focus groups, and task-based user testing), as well as the team's latest effort to assess Web site analytics and content to identify Web site usage patterns and areas of concern. A history of the Florida International University Libraries’ Web site redesign process is presented to illustrate lessons learned and best practices to facilitate future redesign and testing efforts. Taking a longitudinal look at usability testing at one institution, the study aims to inform the development of an effective strategy for user research and content management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-120
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Web Librarianship
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • academic libraries
  • academic library Web sites
  • card sorting
  • usability best practices
  • usability testing
  • user testing
  • Web site analytics
  • Web site content audit
  • Web site user experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications


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