GreyLit.org is the website for The Grey Literature Report, a collection of publications and reports made available by The New York Academy of Medicine. The goal of GreyLit.org is to make grey literature items from the Academy’s collection available to the public and to assist other librarians with collections in similar fields to develop their own reports.
Interested in an overall site analysis, GreyLit.org was tested by six participants who performed a series tasks on the site while using a screen capture software, as guided by evaluators. Results were gathered and analyzed from which several recommendations were formed with the intent to rectify usability problems of GreyLit.org and create a more positive research environment for its users.
Working as an evaluator, I recruited and scheduled tests with two of six participants, moderating sessions using screen capture software to analyze usability/UX problems observed. As a team, we compared findings from our testing and identified both major and minor usability issues for the novice and experienced user respectfully. Our findings resulted in six recommendations.
- Search can be improved for users by being more transparent about the site's limitations with the functions and sorting the search results in a clear, helpful way for users.
- Downloading options should be more intuitive. This could involve selecting articles of interest and then clicking a “Download” link at the top of the page to trigger a download of those articles or, alternatively, moving the entire download function to individual search results.
- Social media sharing functions should emulate the style users are most familiar with. An email function was also a much more popular share method for users.
- A link to donation information should be in one, consistent location (i.e. the footer). The information should be in a new tab within the same site with a direct link to donate to the library, along with an explanation that the user will be redirected to a different web page.
- The balance for databases is in displaying enough metadata clearly without overloading the user with too much information. It is important to determine exactly what metadata is relevant to the users of the site; decide on a design that presents the regularly sought information front and center.
- Bugs in the system directly affect whether or not users believe the system is functioning as desired. When confronted with errors and other atypical behavior, the participants often questioned if the results were accurate. If the user does not think they can trust the website, they are not likely to continue using it.