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Web site usability concerns anyone with a web site to maintain. Libraries, however, are often the biggest offenders in terms of usability. In our efforts to provide users with everything they need to do research, we often overwhelm them with sites that are confusing in structure, difficult to navigate, and weighed down with jargon. Dowling College Library recently completed a redesign of its web site based upon the concept of usability. For smaller libraries in particular, this can be a challenge. The web site is often maintained by one or two people and finding the time and resources to conduct a usability study is difficult in that situation. Additional demands of a site redesign, from restructuring page layouts to adding visual appeal, only add to the burden. However, our team of four librarians was able to do it. We focused on vocabulary and organizational structure using a card-sort analysis. This analysis taught us how our users approach the information on our site. Task-based testing confirmed what the card-sort analysis had taught us and smoothed out design problems. Incorporating user feedback at nearly every stage of the process allowed us to create a site that more closely mirrors how our users look for information on our site. This study details how using testing and analyzing results throughout the redesign process created a better, more user-friendly web site.

Publication Title

Journal of Web Librarianship



Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Additional Information

Laura Pope Robbins was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.

Required Publisher’s Statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of Web Librarianship on 12/10/2008, available online: