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The Live Usability Lab: Open Access Archives and Digital Repositories (SIG-DL, SIG-SI, SIG-USE, SIG-STI)

Paul Marty, Michael Twidale, Anita Coleman, Tim Donohue and Dorothy Salo

(Submission #28)


This session proposes a solution to the usability problem in open access archives by using an innovative and interaction-driven usability demonstration method developed and tested over the past five years: the Live Usability Lab (Marty & Twidale, 2005). While this would be its first demonstration at ASIS&T, the Live Usability Lab has been presented at seven different national and international conferences over the past five years, each time evaluating different websites selected by the audience. At these conferences, this method has consistently and successfully a) demonstrated the potential and power of user testing, and b) engaged the audience by illustrating the process with live data instead of canned examples. Since there is very little in the literature about the usability testing of open access archives and digital repositories (which are, after all, another type of website) the Live Usability Lab format will provide an exciting demonstration of the potential of usability analysis for evaluating diverse information interfaces.


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