Adding SPICE to a Library Intranet Site: A Recipe to Enhance Usability

Lisa Cotter, Larnich Harije, Suzanne Lewis, Ingrid Tonnison


Objective - To produce a highly-usable intranet site, use the project to explore the practical application of evidence-based librarianship (EBL), and refine the library’s project management methodology.

Methods - Evidence was gathered via a literature review, an online survey, scenario-based usability testing, and completion of a usability checklist. Usability issues were then addressed, guided by the Research-Based Web Design and Usability Guidelines.

Results - After a preliminary revision, the site achieved a usability index of 79% after application of the “Raward Library Usability Analysis Tool”. Finding the information and supporting user tasks were identified as areas of weakness. Usability testing and client feedback supported these findings. After these issues were addressed by a major site redevelopment, the usability index increased to 98%.

Conclusions - Raward’s checklist is an easy and effective tool for measuring and identifying usability issues. Its value was enhanced by scenario-based usability testing, which yielded rich, client-specific information. The application of EBL and project management principles enhanced the outcomes of the project, and the professional development of the project team.

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