Pakistan Journal of Information Management & Libraries (May 2016)

Instructing usability evaluation in LIS curriculum: A case of the U.S.

  • Kanwal Ameen,
  • Sanda Erdelez

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 0


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Increasing use of websites as vehicles for the dissemination of information services in the digital environment and interaction with users has raised many usability concerns in creating user-friendly digital information services. Hence, it is important to understand if and how the future generations of library and other information professionals learn about usability evaluation through their LIS studies. Guided by this research objective, the authors of this paper reviewed the state of usability evaluation (UE) courses in LIS education. The study used content-analysis method to find answers to the research questions. The sample was purposive consisting only ALA accredited schools in the U.S. Publicly available descriptions of the courses on their websites were accessed to review the UE content offered. The content of these identified course descriptions was downloaded and further analyzed in terms of its format and coverage. Besides, based on the experience of the second author, the paper provides insight into both challenges and opportunities that the instructors of usability evaluation courses face. Findings reveal that LIS education programs have not yet fully accepted UE of digital resources as a standard course in their educational repertory. The study suggests that a systematic exposure to UE can place LIS professionals in a better position to communicate with the information technology staff regarding the specific needs of the users and enhance their chances for a productive professional career.