Becoming user-centric: implementing a user focus and usability testing for an academic library website
In 2012 Auckland University of Technology Library set out to redevelop its website. Inspired by the work of leaders in the field like Matthew Reidsma and Aaron Schmidt we realised that the virtual space which had become our key contact point with users was increasingly frustrating and turning off those users. The problem was that our website, like many library websites, had been designed by librarians, for librarians, with almost no user input. The challenge for the AUT Library was not just to redesign the website, but to rethink our entire focus to place the user at the centre of everything we do. This paper is the story of a journey of transformational change, from where we were to where we wanted to be. It is a journey into user interviews and user testing, heatmaps, personas and scenarios, responsive and adaptive design, and the meaning of simplicity and beauty in content and design. There is a significant focus on our practice of monthly usability testing, and how the results inform the continual development of the website. Through an exciting and challenging process we believe that we have created a website that is built not for librarians but for users.