Evaluating the usability of library services accessed via EBSCO Host Mobile

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Hegarty, Ronan
Issue Date
Master of Information and Library Studies
Dublin Business School
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Statement of the Problem: In recent years, academic libraries have started to examine the possibility of providing more of their content and services via the new platform of Web-enabled mobile devices such as iPods and smartphones. One such service is EBSCO Host Mobile which provides access to articles from EBSCO databases via Web-enabled mobile devices. Prior to this test, no usability test has been done to see if Irish students find such a service usable. Purpose of the Study: This research sets out to examine whether the library and information services that the EBSCO Host Mobile application provides are usable by its target audience. The application was assessed using the usability attributes of learnability, navigation, efficiency, effectiveness and aesthetics. Methodology: The methodology chosen was usability testing. This consisted of a pre-usability test questionnaire, a “think out loud” usability test and a post-usability test questionnaire. Findings: Overall, the application is usable. However, problems exist in terms of the usability attributes efficiency and effectiveness. Recommendations: Suggested changes to the interface are described and mockup versions of the suggested new interface are presented as screenshots. It is recommended that Irish third level libraries should try to ascertain if there is a demand for library services via Web-enabled mobile devices. Mobile-optimised versions of their library websites and other mobile services such as this application could then be provided.