Vancouver Public Library Usability Report

November 2019


Vancouver Public Library has many branches across the city of Vancouver and offers a variety of resources for members to access and utilize, aside from typical lendings. The report delivered summarized findings of a live Usability test conducted on their website to asses the site's usability and propose improvements to enhance user experience.

Team Members
Tech Stack
  • User Research
  • Click Testing
  • "Think Aloud" Protocol
  • Website Heuristics
My Role
  • User Research
  • Preparing survey questions
  • Test moderator during live-testing
  • Reporting methodology & summary of findings

VPL was our choice of website, given the wide network of users it serves. We did some brainstorming regarding the target audience and users of the website and came up with some comon user groups, then drafted user persoans.

User Groups

Defining user groups helped us prepare the questionnaires to be taken before and after the tests. It also allowed us to come up with appropriate tasks to be carried out during the live testing session. The questionnaires were created with the use of Google Forms, and clicking tasks were set up using UsabilityHub, a user testing platform.

User Persona
Test Setup & Results

As the moderator, I was responsible for directing participants on the task at hand. Other team members were observing, taking notes, and recording completion time of each task. We were relying on the "Think-aloud Protocol", in order to know what the participants were thinking and the reasons behind their decisions.

The results were gathered and analyzed. We were not surprised that task 1 had very weak results. This was due to the lack of clarity of navigation labels. Additionally, we gathered that the search functionality of the website could be enhanced. By default, the website's search function searches the library's catalogue; other search functions are available in a drop-down menu, which was not intuitive to our participants. Appropriate suggestions were made to improve user experience in these areas.

View Report


Although we were able to gather all the necessary data to accomplish the goals of the report, it would have been beneficial to conduct the test in isolation. Surrounding groups who had more vocal participants proved to be a source of distraction from time to time; perhaps a quiet environment would have allowed shy participants to think aloud more comfortably, and provided us with more input.

Lastly, the test was conducted only on the desktop version of VPL's website. In order to account for a large number of mobile users, a future test would ideally include the mobile site, especially given the increasing number of mobile users.