In the development of a Web resource, ideally usability testing is an iterative process that is carried out throughout the development of a resource and can be conducted both internally (expert review) and with outside users (user testing).
The second meeting of the JISC Digitisation programme partly focused on Web usability issues and user interaction with digital resources.
Gemma Richardson, from the Cabinet Papers digitisation project, gave an enlightening presentation on the First steps to usability and user centred design. Subsequently, in a hands-on session delegates tested two different methodologies for carrying out an expert review, the Cognitive Walkthrough and the Heuristic Evaluation. Although different, perhaps unsurprisingly the two methodologies unearthed similar problems with the web site being tested.
Claire Warwick’s presentation also provided projects with insightful and practical tips on key features that the ideal digital humanities resource ought to include, based on the findings of the LAIRAH study (Log Analysis of Internet Resources in the Arts and Humanities), which she conducted as part of a team at University College London.