The importance of usability evaluation when developing digital tools for a library – a case study

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • Abstract:

    Advanced information tools using modern technologies that filter information to address individual needs are not necessarily easy to develop or easy to use. This paper emphasises the importance of both usability evaluation and information literacy, by looking at a case study of an e-dictionary that was developed using modern technology to tailor information to address only specific needs. The e-dictionary is a prototype developed based on modern lexicographical theory and uses advanced search and display options. These options allow a user to receive only information that is relevant to a specific situation. A heuristic evaluation and usability tests were done on the e-dictionary. The findings showed that not all users found the advanced search and display options easy to use. This paper briefly discusses the usability evaluation done on the e-dictionary and argues that if any e-tools are developed in a library, usability evaluation is paramount. Users and designers do not necessarily share the same opinions and usability evaluation should be used to improve a design. In addition to usability evaluation, users should be educated on how to use advanced information tools to their full potential. Information literacy training is already used to teach users how to search in databases. However, dictionary literacy should be included and users taught how to use dictionaries effectively. Such training can benefit users significantly, especially if more advanced e-dictionaries are developed, that include tools through which users can find exactly what they are looking for.