◦What effect does a site/system’s usability have on information seeking?
I believe the most obvious answer to the above question was noted in some of the readings: people leave a website when it is not easy to use. The Internet provides us with an endless number of places we can go to find answers to our question. I am sure we all do the same, when a webpage is hard to work with, hard to understand and not providing us what we seek, we move on and try someplace else. Users can always find information that is good enough. Libraries in order to prove their worth, want to provide patrons with the best information. Yet, no matter how good the information it is pointless if no one is able to navigate the site easily and receive answers to their questions.
◦What about librarians? What role do they play in a digital library’s usability and in the overall user experience?
This question gets at an issue I thought of while reading this past week, especially the article by Peter Morville. We spoke earlier in the semester on good relations between the IT department and librarians. Creation of user-friendly websites is likely to be a collaboration between the two departments. While Morville spoke of librarians creating websites/digital libraries and maximizing their findability using their technical skills I am not sure how many librarians will have the technical know-how to do this. I’ll be the first to admit that I wish I did but it would likely require a computer science degree along with my MLS. Librarians however do have a responsibility to develop a general understanding of the technical side of digital libraries. Also, librarians bring a long history of placing users first. We spend a lot of time with information seekers, we know how people go about finding information, what routes they take, what they find helpful and not. Librarians should share their knowledge with the technical team. Everyone’s goal is the same: have a great website. This can be achieved when the technical aspects and behavioural side of information seeking come together.