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Promoting the Sustainability of a Digital Initiatives Project. User-Centered Assessment and Testing of Aerial Photographs of Colorado Holley Long, Kathryn Lage & Christopher Cronin University Libraries A presentation of the Faculty Staff Development Committee October 26, 2005.

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promoting the sustainability of a digital initiatives project

Promoting the Sustainability of a Digital Initiatives Project

User-Centered Assessment and Testing of Aerial Photographs of Colorado

Holley Long, Kathryn Lage & Christopher Cronin

University Libraries

A presentation of the Faculty Staff Development Committee

October 26, 2005

aerial photographs of colorado
Aerial Photographs of Colorado
  • Initial prototype: http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/aerialphotos/home.asp
  • Digital library of more than 1,700 scanned aerial photographs taken by U.S. Forest Service in 1938, 1940, 1946, and 1947
  • Print collection of ~20,000 aerial photographs donated to the Libraries in 2001 by the Geography Department
  • Digitization project funded by a grant from the Collaborative Digitization Project.
search interfaces
Search Interfaces
  • Aerial photographs can function both as historical image documents and geospatial cartographic materials, depending on the perspective of the user
  • Two search interfaces were created to accommodate as many user groups and expertise levels as possible:
    • a map search interface that facilitates spatially-oriented searching
    • a geographic keyword interface for textual searching
timeline for the testing
Timeline for the testing
  • Short time-frame for the grant precluded a user-centered design of the prototype. Post-grant usability testing was important to ensure long-term sustainability of the project.
  • Testing of the prototype included: requirements analysis, heuristic evaluation, and user testing
  • Target audience: faculty, staff, and students of the university’s Geography and Geology departments.
theory and research methods
Theory and Research Methods
  • What is user-centered design? (UCD)
  • How can this model benefit libraries?
  • What are the four stages of UCD?
  • How did we apply this model to the Aerial Photographs of Colorado project?
  • What methods did we use?
    • Usability (heuristic analysis, user testing)
    • User needs assessment
what is user centered design
What is user centered design?
  • Design philosophy dedicated to creating highly functional, easy-to-use products
  • Characteristics:
    • Users involvement
    • Multidisciplinary design team
    • Four activities
      • Understand users’ needs and expectations
      • Plan
      • Design a prototype
      • Evaluate the prototype
    • Iterative design
  • Human Centred Design Process for Interactive Systems (ISO 13407)
what are the benefits
Increased productivity

Improved user satisfaction

Enhanced quality of work

Reduction in training and support costs

What are the benefits?
how do libraries benefit
How do libraries benefit?

User centered design

  • resonates with profession
  • creates a competitive advantage
  • builds support among stakeholders
  • offers insight into optimal design for digital libraries

“At the core of effective digital library design is the relationship between the content to be provided and the user community to be served.”

-Christine Borgman

how does this research project relate to the model
How does this research project relate to the model?

Usability testing of the first version

User needs assessment for second version

usability testing
Usability Testing

“Supposing is good, but finding out is better.”

- Samuel Clemens

what is usability testing
What is usability testing?
  • Usability testing measures:
    • Ease of learning
    • Memorability
    • Efficiency
    • Error rate and error recovery
    • Satisfaction
  • Characteristics of discount usability:
    • Small sample sizes
    • Simple testing techniques
    • Direct observation

“Easy is hard.”- Peter Lewis, NY Times

heuristic evaluation
Heuristic Evaluation
  • A method of usability testing that assesses a web site based on a set of established criteria for good design
  • Examples:
    • Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics (http://www.useit.com/papers/heuristic/heuristic_list.html)
  • Benefits:
    • Easy and inexpensive
    • Does not require domain specialists (ex. Geologists or Geographers)
    • Identifies some problems that are difficult to find using other testing techniques
user testing
A group of usability testing methods for evaluating a user interface by collecting data from people while they are actually using the system User Testing
user testing1
User Testing
  • Benefits:
    • Not only uncovers what the user is doing, but also why she is doing it
    • Identifies some problems that are difficult to find using other testing techniques

“If the user can't use it, it doesn't work.”- Susan Dray

“If the user can't find it, it doesn't exist.”- HFI button

understanding the audience
Understanding the Audience

“People’s behavior makes sense if you think about it in terms of their goals, needs, and motives.”

- Thomas Mann

user needs assessment
User Needs Assessment
  • Identify the audience and discover their needs and expectations for the system
  • Assessment should uncover the users’:
    • Knowledge
    • Experience
    • Attitude
    • Motivation
    • Typical tasks
    • Physical characteristics
  • Understand the context of use
  • Techniques:
    • Interviews
    • Observation
    • Analyzing tangible work documents
aerial photographs of colorado portrait of a user
Aerial Photographs of Colorado:Portrait of a User
  • Familiar with the Libraries’ electronic resources and services
  • Studies geographic regions in Colorado
  • Uses aerial photographs to:
    • Identify field sites
    • Detect changes in the landscape over time
    • Create new cartographic materials
  • To accomplish these goals, users need to:
    • Imports digital photos into GIS software
    • Compares aerial photos to other cartographic materials
user needs assessment functional specifications
User Needs Assessment:Functional Specifications
  • Ability to download at varying resolutions
  • Ability to zoom in & out
  • Ability to easily use photographs in a GIS
user testing results
User Testing Results
  • Navigation
  • Map Search
  • Maintaining spatial orientation: county map page, retrieved results page, access image page
  • Map Search vs. Keyword Search
important themes possible solutions
Important Themes : Possible Solutions
  • Maintaining Spatial Orientation
  • Zooming & Downloading Capabilities
maintaining spatial orientation
Maintaining Spatial Orientation
  • Aerial photographs = geographic materials
  • Issues:
    • county map page
    • retrieved results page
    • access image page
possible solutions
Possible Solutions
  • Html/JavaScript solutions within current web project
  • WebGIS
web based interface
Web-based Interface:

Possible solution to showing spatial orientation

webgis
WebGIS
  • Colorado Aerial Photos Interactive Map Viewer: http://mapdevel.ngdc.noaa.gov/website/kal/coaerials/
zooming downloading capabilities
Zooming & Downloading Capabilities
  • Digital Library software
    • Luna Imaging
what s next
What’s Next?
  • Georeferencing & scanning more photos
  • Making ready to use in GIS
  • Collaborating with USFS
  • Next iteration of project
more information
More information…
  • Lage, Kathryn, Christopher Cronin, & Holley Long. "Enhanced Library Collection Access through GIS: Historic Colorado Aerial Photographs." 2004 Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Education User Conference Proceedings. Presented by primary author. Available: http://gis.esri.com/library/userconf/educ04/papers/abstracts/a5105.html
  • Cronin, Christopher, Kathryn Lage, & Holley Long. "The Flight Plan of a Digital Initiatives Project: Providing Remote Access to Aerial Photographs of Colorado.” OCLC Systems & Services: International Digital Library Perspectives, 2005, 21(2), pp. 114-130.
  • Long, Holley, Kathryn Lage, & Christopher Cronin. "The Flight Plan of a Digital Initiatives Project, Part 2: Usability Testing in the Context of User-Centered Design” OCLC Systems & Services: International Digital Library Perspectives, 2005, 21(4). (In press)