Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

An exploration into the practices of library web usability in ARL academic libraries

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A survey of the 113 academic libraries of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) was administered to investigate whetherWeb usability Policies/Standards/ Guidelines (PSGs) are in place, the levels of difficulty surrounding implementation, the impact of PSGs on actual usability practice, e.g., testing, resources, etc., and the relationship between ARL ranking and usability practice or PSGs. The response rate was over 74%. Results show that 25 (30%) libraries have PSGs dedicated toWeb usability. Seventy-one (85%) libraries have conducted usability testing on their main Web sites, online public access catalogs (OPAC), or lower-level pages. Nevertheless, only seven libraries performed iterative testing of these platforms at pre-, during, and post-design stages Statistical analysis indicates that having PSGs does not affect the amount of usability testing performed or the resources available for library Web usability initiatives In addition, ARL ranking has no or little impact on PSGs, testing, or resources.