Usability Study: Interviews with our community


One of my projects for this year is to conduct Summon After-Implementation study.  Summon is our new web discovery layer which was implemented in May 2016.  This study involved interviewing our community namely: Faculty members, PhD and MSc students and PostDoc.  One of the main objectives of this interview exercise is to obtain information on how they are using Summon to search for electronic resources.  In addition to that, I asked for their recommendations on improving their search experience.

Quick Information about our International Graduate Research University:



Here are some quick takes:

  • Google Scholar is the go-to source for articles.  According to the participants, they obtain more relevant and faster (search return speed) hits compared to using Summon
  • Most of the participants searched for articles as compared to ebook / ebook chapters when using Summon
  • Use Summon to search for library’s print or electronic books collection.  An interesting comment: Google Scholar is not efficient enough to provide this information for them.  ** Imagine if Google Scholar is able to do this 🙂
  • Participants found that the search results in Summon are often too cluttered; giving rise to information overload.  Most of them are also unaware of the filter features that allow participants to filter out the ‘noise’ from their search results.
  • The search result return speed is another cause for concern (Summon).  Perhaps a more directed search approach would assist our users to get their information faster.  We could have tab / radio button options on our website to allow our users to search for articles; ebook / ebook chapters and print / AV materials separately.
  • Though some of the participants mentioned that they have attended our library training, there is not much evidence whether this has impacted their search experience in Summon.  (Another potential research topic 🙂 ).

Those are just some of the main points garnered from the interviews.  Any peeps out there willing to share their experience?


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