User testing the Pratt Institute Catalog

We wanted to test the Pratt Institute Catalog website with some actual users

Multiple iterations with the client and pilot testing helped fine-tune the process

We developed our tasks such that multiple usecases were covered by the test in order to test out the broadest possible variations of the use of the website. The four tasks given to each participant were:

  1. You want to search the Pratt library catalog for a particular book. Where would you go to search only for books? – To test the transition from the library main page to the catalog
  2. You need to borrow the hardcopy version of the book Antisocial Media by Siva Vaidhyanathan. What is this book’s call number? Is it currently available at the Pratt Libraries? – Usecase for a book that is part of the Pratt collection both as an online resource as well as a hardcopy. However, the hardcopy is not currently available.
  3. You are looking for the book called “Love’s executioner and other tales of psychotherapy”. You want the most recently published version of the book. Where is this book available? – Usecase for a book that is not part of the Pratt collection and only the title is known.
  4. Cara Robertson published a book in 2019. You don’t remember the title of the book. How will you find it? Where is it available? – Usecase for when only the author is known for a book that is not part of the Pratt collection

The client identified the target user as a graduate or undergraduate student of Pratt Institute, in general, and someone who is not aware of the Interlibrary loan service or of ConnectNY, in particular. All six participants of the study matched the target user profile of the client. The details of the participants are listed below.

Summary of study participants

Our findings showed students liked the simple and intuitive layout of the website but there were also some areas for improvement

Our recommendations prioritized user impact while aiming for minimal development work

For more details on our findings and recommendations, please consult our report here.

The client plans to implement our recommendations. Next steps could be reviewing the ConnectNY website itself.

Our recommendations were greatly appreciated by the client. The development feasibility of the recommended changes meant the client was eager to implement them quickly. Next steps for this problem set could be doing a revamp of the ConnectNY website especially focusing on the user flow after the student is redirected there from the Pratt Catalog website.