Tracking Changes: One Library's Homepage Over Time—Findings from Usability Testing and Reflections on Staffing

Jeanne M. Brown, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Michael A. Yunkin, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


A strong Webmaster, additions and reorganizations of staff, a library commitment to providing the user with an effective site, changes in the site's focus, and external factors such as technological improvements and changes in user expectations are all factors that can trigger changes in a library Web site's design. Yet these changes are not necessarily always progressive evolutions. This case study examines the various iterations of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Libraries Web site from 1996 to the present, noting issues with each version, reasons leading to change, the people responsible for Web site decision-making, and the specific changes incorporated over time. In particular, the authors reviewed the usability test results for each of the tested designs, noting whether the identified problems were addressed in the redesign process and highlighting the usability problems that found their way back into the site in later redesigns. This study, which speculates on reasons for the reoccurrence of usability issues and identifies findings from usability testing that remain viable over the years, is anticipated to be useful in UNLV Libraries’ efforts to continuously improve its Web presence. Descriptions of organizational structure provide context for Web redesign efforts.