University of Massachusetts Amherst Discovery Search Usability Study


The University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries recently conducted usability studies on EBSCO’s Discovery search platform, which is to be the default search tool on the UMass Amherst Libraries’ website beginning on July 2017. During the spring of 2017, Information Resources Management utilized surveys, focus groups, and hands-on testing of students and faculty to assess how library patrons interacted with the new discovery services (EDS) and other related library services. The following report documents this usability study, findings discovered, and recommendations hitherto. The following recommendations are broken into three categories: dataload (e.g. bibliographic records), design, and library services.

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New Discover Usability Testing: Bento-Style

skyline view from Neilson Library at Smith college


The Smith College Libraries conducted usability testing in 2016 during local development of a new interface and “bento box” style of display for search results from EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS).

Research and usability tests were conducted by a team made up of staff members from the Smith College Libraries Web Coordination Team and Discovery & Access and Teaching, Learning & Research departments.  Planning for the project was informed by results of EBSCO user experience studies.

The  Bento group met to review usability test results and discuss changes — in content, functionality, design, and language — after each successive round of testing.  The “New Discover” was launched on the Smith Libraries website in January, 2017.

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