May 21, 2022

New Online: Usability Testing Report of the The European Library Website Alpha Version (March 2012)

From The Report’s Executive Summary (via Europeana Web Site)

In order to measure the quality of the new European Library portal, The European Library office conducted a series of usability tests in January and February 2012 on the alpha version of the website. Twenty volunteers — about 30% — from our partner network conducted the testing, as well as Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and The European Library itself, through the researchers’ focus group of the National Library of the Netherlands. Altogether, about 60 target users with different backgrounds and from different countries tested the alpha version of the new portal.

In summary, the test users spontaneously identified the main purpose of The European Library portal: to offer quick and easy access to the collections of Europe’s national and research libraries. As a whole, they expected the offering of a catalogue search function with enhanced search and filter functions that ensure immediate access to the indicated resources. Additionally, they expected a quick overview of the collections.

Specific results and feedback, as summarised in the full Usability Testing Report, helped us identify the scope of necessary adjustments and the roadmap to achieve them. Very briefly, here are the highlights:

  • 85% of the users commenting on the design gave positive feedback on it.
  • Some users mentioned that not enough data was available on the portal or that some pages and links did not work yet. (Since the users tested the alpha version of the portal, not all links and content were implemented yet. By the launch of the beta version, all links and pages will be working and the entire content will be available.)
  • Almost 50% of the test users struggled with understanding the results page; however, they reacted positively once they comprehended all the components. (Section 2.2-4 of the Usability Testing Report).

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.