understanding what users understand

Library Terms that Users Understand – a big survey of available data to show us that there ARE best practices as far as our users are concerned.

This site is intended to help library web developers decide how to label key resources and services in such a way that most users can understand them well enough to make productive choices. It serves as a clearinghouse of usability test data evaluating terminology on library websites, listing terms that tests show are effective or ineffective labels. It presents alternatives by documenting terms that are actually used by libraries. It also suggests test methods and best practices for reducing cognitive barriers caused by terminology.

Surprise surprise, the word periodical is confusing. So are words like database, pathfinder and Do-it-Yourself in Unicorn. [web4lib]

3 thoughts on “understanding what users understand

  1. Sweet Jebus, Thank God. While doing my culminating (which prevented me from seeing Jess at SJSU last semester) I was tearing up the place to find some conclusive studies on the word “database” was confusing. Fortunately I still passed by excluding that sentence out, but was sad that I couldn’t get a source on this obvious glossary problem.

    I’ll pass it along to my library. We suffer from lack of decent slogans. and a marketing budget. wee….

  2. We used this research while redesigning our library’s website the last time around. The author, John Kupersmith, is a working librarian but also a library commissioner for my current (soon to be former) employer, the Marin County Free Library. His work is very valuable to those doing the naming of things in libraries…

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