Usability testing the Letters of 1916 Digital Edition

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Title: Usability testing the Letters of 1916 Digital Edition
Authors: Wusteman, Judith
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Date: 2016
Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe the process and implications of usability testing a prototype version of the Letters of 1916 Digital Edition. Design/methodology/approach: The paper presents the testing, the lessons learned and how those lessons informed the subsequent redesign of the site. Findings: Results imply that a majority of users, even digital humanists, were not looking for a unique and specialised interface, but assumed – and preferred – a user experience that reflects common search systems. Although the audience for digital humanities sites is becoming increasingly diverse, the needs of the different user groups may be more similar than had previously been assumed. Research limitations/implications: The usability test employed 11 participants, five of whom were coded as 'general public'. Four of these five had previously volunteered to transcribe and upload letters. This meant that they were already familiar with the project and with the Letters of 1916 Transcription Desk. However, their prior involvement was a result of their genuine interest in the site, thus ensuring that their interactions during testing were more realistic. Practical implications: The lesson learned may be useful for the Digital Editions of future crowdsourced humanities projects. Originality/value: Letters of 1916 is the first crowdsourced humanities project in Ireland. The theme of the project is topical, emotive and socially important in Ireland and among Irish diaspora today. The project’s content has been created by the 'ordinary citizens of Ireland' and they are likely to be the major users of the Digital Edition. The study explores how the Digital Edition can support these users, while also facilitating the range of traditional scholars and digital humanities researchers.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Emerald
Journal: Library Hi Tech
Volume: 31
Issue: 5
Start page: 120
End page: 143
Copyright (published version): 2016 Emerald Publishing Limited
Keywords: Usability testingDigital humanitiesCrowdsourcingUser studiesDigital librariesQualitative research
DOI: 10.1108/LHT-10-2016-0111
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Information and Communication Studies Research Collection

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