As part of the ArchivesSpace Public User Interface (PUI) implementation at Yale University Library, a Usability and Accessibility Workgroup was formed and tasked with assessing the usability and accessibility of the new ArchivesSpace PUI. Set to replace the current Yale Finding Aid Database (YFAD), the PUI presents archival description in a very different way than current static online finding aids.
Working with representatives from five user groups (undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, library staff, and outside researchers), the Workgroup conducted 16 usability tests between February 1 and February 16, 2018, on a test instance of the PUI. Results of the tests were compiled in a report with recommendations that address confusions, roadblocks, and frustrations faced by users.
At the Boston Regional ArchivesSpace Forum, held on May 3 at Tufts University, Eve Neiger, chair of the Workgroup and Processing Archivist at the Beinecke Library, and Tracy MacMath, User Interface Programmer in Library IT, gave a presentation entitled “Road Testing the PUI: How DIY Usability Testing Taught Us About Users’ Mental Models for Online Archival Research”. Their presentation summarized the testing process, data analysis, and how the findings informed the design of Yale’s ArchivesSpace implementation.
Yale’s implementation of the ArchivesSpace Public User Interface is currently scheduled for soft launch this summer.