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Digital Library User Interface and Usability

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Presentation on theme: "Digital Library User Interface and Usability"— Presentation transcript:

1 Digital Library User Interface and Usability
Week 8

2 Goals Discover elements of good interface design for digital libraries of various sorts Consider examples from DL usability evaluation as sources of insight. Look at the distinct requirements of interfaces to libraries of video and audio files

3 Caveat Note -- We have a whole class in User System Interface
Everything in that class is relevant to User Interfaces for Digital Libraries One evening will not replace that course, nor will it capture all of the relevant factors.

4 Note - to do later At the end of the class, I will ask you to do a reflection on the points raised. You will be asked to summarize the most important characteristics of a well-developed DL interface. As you continue your DL projects, be sure to apply the relevant components of these elements.

5 The challenge A user interface for digital libraries must display large volumes of data effectively. Typically the user is presented with one or more overlapping windows that can be resized and rearranged. In digital libraries, a large amount of data spread through a number of resources necessitates intuitive interfaces for users to query and retrieve information. The ability to smoothly change the user's perspective from high-level summarization information down to a specific paragraph of a document or scene from a film remains a challenge to user interface researchers. Source:

6 Expectations of Digital Libraries
Provide at least those services available in traditional libraries … and more. A system is successful “only to the degree to which the vast majority of its intended users are able to use its intended functionality” Hill 97

7 User-centered design “User-centered design for a digital library must include not only systems evaluation but also an understanding of the process of information seeking and use.” Compared to a “self-evident door handle” -- once you see it, you know what it does and how to use it. No instruction is necessary. Hill 97

8 Methods of evaluation Surveys Target user groups Ethnographic studies
Focus groups from the intended audiences Ethnographic studies Audio/video taped sessions of users Analysis of feedback and comments Demographic analysis of beta tester registration data Log analysis We will consider in more detail next week as we look at quality measures Hill 97

9 Usability inspection of Digital Libraries
To produce a product with high usability Client and user interviews Task analysis User class definitions Usage scenarios Iterative usability design Prototyping Design walk-throughs Usability evaluation Unfortunately, most developers look at usability analysis as something to do at the end of the development process as a final test, rather than as a part of the design process. Source: Hartson 04

10 Evaluation Evaulation for any purpose has two major components
Formative During development, spot check how things are progressing Identify problems that may prevent goals from being achieved Make adjustments to avoid the problems and get the project back on track Summative After development, see how well it all came out Lessons learned may be applicable to future projects, but are too late to affect the current one. Needed for reporting back to project sponsors on success of the work.

11 Usability evaluation Lab-based formative evaluation After deployment
Real and representative users Benchmark tasks Qualitative and quantitative data Leads to redesign where needed After deployment Real users doing real tasks in daily work Summative with respect to the deployed system Useful for later versions

12 Usability inspection Lower cost option than full lab-based testing
Applies to early designs, well-developed designs, and deployed systems Does not employ real users Expert based Usability engineering practitioners May be guided by typical user tasks Seeks to predict usability problems that users will encounter. Hartson 04

13 Inspection categories
User classes Know your user Example from the cited study: Scientific researchers in computer science Administrators Do not use the regular interface, so not evaluated User tasks Search for technical reports on a set of criteria Browse the collection Register Submit Harvest Hartson 04

14 Search expanded Search options Simple search Advanced search
All bibliographic fields Group results by archive Sort Advanced search Focus on specific fields with filter options Hartson 04

15 Results - 1 Submit and Harvest tasks not evaluated
Specialized domain requirements Need evaluation with real users to do meaningful testing Report on Problems Found Usability problem types Wording, consistency Functionality Search and browse functionality Problem = anything that impacts the user’s task performance or satisfaction. Hartson 04

16 Categories of Problems
General to most applications, GUIs Wording Consistency Graphic layout and organization User’s model of the system Digital Library functionality Browsing Filtering Searching Document submission functions Hartson 04

17 Wording About 36% of the problems in the case
“Precise use of words in user interfaces is one of the most important design considerations for usability” Clear, complete, correct Button and tab labels Menu choices Web links Crucial to help users learn and understand functionality Easiest problems to fix if someone with right skills is on the team. Hartson 04

18 Search and Browse functionality
Pretty basic to what a DL does! 18% of the problems were in that area. Designers consider these separate functions Users see them as extremely closely related Find the desired resource Should be designed together Hartson 04

19 “Usual Suspects” Digital libraries prone to the same design faults as other interactive systems Consistency “group” and “archive” used interchangeably Different labels for the same concept used in different places Simple search on tab, Search all bibliographic field at function location Multiple terms referring to the same concept confuse users, slow learning Standardize terminology and check it carefully Hartson 04

20 Usual Suspects - 2 Problems with Feedback
Clearly indicate where the user is in the overall system Clicking a tab does not result in highlighting or any kind of feedback about which tab is the currently active choice. Selected institution (archive) highlighted when chosen, but not maintained after some other actions. Hartson 04

21 Usual suspects - 3 Wording
Use of jargon or slang, or unclear or missing labels Challenge for users Example in NCSTRL Several dates used. The labels for the dates do not clearly described what each represents. “discovery date” which is different from “accession date” Discovery date -- probably a developers term, and not likely to be of interest to the user. Use terms that are meaningful to users without explanation whenever possible. Resist presenting data that is not useful for user purposes. Hartson 04

22 Usual suspects - 4 Wording, continued
Example: Submit to CoRR tab Could be “Submit Technical Report(s) to CoRR Example: Search all bibliographic fields Could be “Simple Search: Search all bibliograhic fields in selected archive (or for selected institution” Other examples of unclear labels Archive’s Set - technical term from OAI-PMH DateStamp Discovery Date Label for the user, not the developer Hartson 04

23 Usual Suspects - 5 Incorrect or inappropriate wording
“Search results” label for browsing results hits (1-n) or total xxx hits displayed Not search results, just reports available for browsing Apparent use of combined code for browse and search. Label results appropriately, even scrupulously, for their real meaning. Hartson 04

24 Usual suspects - 6 Appropriate terms
Use of “hits” for individual search (or browse) results Commonly used Inappropriate slang, according to usability experts Considered unattractive, even slightly offensive Recommended: something like “Matches with search term” Cosmetic consideration can have a positive affect on user’s impression of the site. Hartson 04

25 Layout and design The whole point of a graphical user interface is to convey more information to the user in a short time. The GUI must support the user needs Example problems in the NCSTRL evaluation Menu choices - no logical order Reorganize by task or functionality Organize task interfaces by categories to present a structured system model and reduce cognitive workload. Hartson 04

26 Layout example Instead of randomly ordered tabs, group them by
Information links About NCSTRL About CoRR OAI Help User tasks Simple search Advanced search Browse Register Submit technical reports to CoRR Hartson 04

27 Graphical design Proximity of elements suggests associations and relatedness Search button very close to OR radio box Applies equally to all parts of the dialog Consider the implications of placement and association of graphical elements. Hartson 04

28 Start off right Any application should have a home page that explains what the site is about and gives the user a sense of the overall site capability and use. NCSTRL starts with the Simple Search page, with no introduction.

29 DL specific problems Searching, filtering, browsing
User view: all are aspects of finding a needed resource Developer view: differences based on what must go in an index to support searching, how filtering is combined with searching to form a new query, etc. Usability suggestion: combine search, browse, filter into one selection and navigation facility. Give users the power to combine these elements to serve their needs. Hartson 04

30 Iterative search Search is often implemented as a one-shot function.
Users want to iterate on their query string to improve results NCSTRL does not show the query that produced the given results. Users want to prune the result set by applying a subsequent query to just those results Not available in NCSTRL Examples where it is available? Hartson 04

31 Browsing NCSTRL allows browsing only by institutions (archive)
Other possibilities Date Author Subject Allow user activity that will serve user needs. Try to find out what users want before making decisions about services offered.

32 Portal “A portal <is> a single point of access to distributed systems that provides services to support user needs to search, browse, and contribute content, often linking to shared existing functionality at other sites.” Portal pass through problem Does the portal add service, or just provide a link to a collection of other sites? Hartson 04

33 Portal - submission NCSTRL - submission to CoRR
Link opens to another page, not directly offering the opportunity to submit. Disconnect for the user between the original page and the action promised. Link directly to the service offered without any intermediate pages unless needed in support of the service. Hartson 04

34 Summary for NCSTRL case
System exhibited many typical problems with user interfaces Investigation illuminated some issues specific to digital libraries or other systems for retrieving information.

35 Another Case - CITIDEL CITIDEL I N T E R Dispatch routines Custom HTTP
CITIDEL Databases -- Resource metadata -- Users and Accounts MySQL Database Perl Page Generation Modules Apache HTTP server Custom HTTP Handler Dispatch routines Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Interface CITIDEL XSL Templates HTML pages End Users -- Educators -- Students -- Researchers -- Professionals Other Digital Libraries and metadata indices I N T E R Custom Search Engine (ESSEX)

36 CITIDEL Practical issue
What would be the results of applying a usability review to CITIDEL, similar to that applied to NCSTRL? A few extra notes that come up in examining CITIDEL No way to submit a resource (only accepts metadata for resources located elsewhere) Is that an issue? Why or why not? Design of the front page Cluttered, confusing What is really essential? What is useful? How should it be organized?

37 CITIDEL continued

38 Video Digital Libraries
Video digital libraries offer more challenges for interface design Information attributes are more complex Visual, audio, other media Indicators and controlling widgets Start, stop, reverse, jump to beginning/end, seek a particular frame or a frame with a specified characteristic Source: Lee 02

39 Video Interface Features
Video browsing Text description Transcript Single keyframe Storyboard Option re granularity of keyframe set Interactive hierarchical keyframe browser Keyframe slide show Video summary playing Playback Transcript + playback synch Keyframe + playback synch Text search + playback and/or keyframe synch Cataloging Semi-automatic tool Manual tool Threshold adjustable before automatic segmentation Textual Query Natural language (or keyword) Category or keyword list browsing Audio information for indexing, browsing Intelligent frame selection Source: Lee 02

40 Common features for Video DLs
Most systems use a textual querying interface and few systems provide any form of visual query interface, probably indicating the need for further development in this area; Most systems use keyframe(s) as their video browsing method; Playback is provided in all listed systems, indicating that playback is regarded as a most important interface feature; Whereas most systems provide more than one video browsing method (often transcript + playback and/or keyframe + playback), browsing aids such as synchronisation between different browsing methods are not often facilitated. Source: Lee 02

41 Stages of Information seeking in Video Digital Libraries
Browsing and then selecting video programs (as a collection) Querying within a video program (content querying) Browsing the content of a video program Watching (part of) a video program Re-querying the video digital library and/or within a video program Source: Lee 02

42 Summarizing stages of information seeking and the interface elements that support them as described in four researchers’ work. Source: Lee 02

43 Granularity in Video Browsing
Abstraction Reducing the information available to a manageable, usable subset Traditional video & audio browsing One point of access Sequential Fast forward Difficult to see the content Need to return to the beginning to repeat search Source: Lee 02

44 Video Abstraction Levels to present: (from Shneiderman 98)
Overview first Zoom and Filter Details on Demand Example levels (from Christel 97) Title: text format, very high level overview Poster frame: single frame taken from the video Filmstrip: a set of frames taken from the video Skim: multiple significant bits of video sequences Time reference Significant in video Options include simple timeline, text specification of time of the current frame, depth of browsing unit Source: Lee 02

45 Keyframe browsing Extract a set of frames from the video
Display each as a still image Link each to play the video from that point Selection is not random Video analysis allows recognition Sudden change of camera shot Scenes with motion or largely stationary Video indexing based on frame-by-frame image comparison Similar to thumbnail browsing of image collections Source: Lee 02

46 Keyframe extraction for display on browsing interface
Source: Lee 02

47 Keyframe extraction Manual Automatic
Owner or editor explicitly selects the frames to be used as index elements Automatic Subsampling - select from regular intervals Easy, but may not be the best representation Automatic segmentation - break the video into meaningful chunks and sample each Shot boundary detection - note switch from one camera to another, or distinct events from one camera Source: Lee 02

48 Displaying the frames Once the key frames are selected, display them for effective user interaction Storyboard Miniaturized keyframes in chronological order Aka keyframe list or filmstrip Slide show Keyframes displayed one at a time Hierarchically arranged Good when content is structured

49 More detail For much more detail about Video browsing and presentation, see Lee 02.

50 Summary Much of digital library user interface design and usability analysis is the same as that of other web services Keep the user central in the design phase Be careful about word use Organize the graphics and layout carefully Think about the user experience Some special considerations about DL usability have to do with DL services Search, filter, browse Connections with other collections to which this is a portal

51 References Adam, N., Holowczak, R., Halem, M., Lal, N., and Yesha, Y. “Digital Lbrary Technical Committee” Christel 97: Christel, M., Winkler, D. and Taylor, C. (1997) “Multimedia abstractions for a digital video library” Proceedings of the 2nd ACM International Conference on Digital Libraries (DL ‘97), Philadelphia, PA July, pp 21-29 Hartson, H. R., Shivakmar, P, and Perez-Quiñones (2004) “Usability inspection of digital libraries: a case study” International Joural of Digital Libraries 4: Hill, L., Dolin, R., Frew, J., Kemp, R., Larsgaard, M., Montello, D., Rae, M., and Simpson, J. “user Evaluation: Summary of the Metholologies and Results for the Alexandria Digital Library, University of California at Santa Barbara. Lee 02: Lee, H., and Smeaton, A. (2002) “Designing the User Interface for the Físchlár Digital Video Library” Journal of Digital Information, Volume 2, Issue 4 May 2002 Shneiderman 98: Shneiderman, B (1998) Designing the user interface: strategies for effective human-computer interaction, 3rd edition (Addison Wesley Longman)

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