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Paper 0343:
User-Centred Design of a Web Interface for a Bibliographic Database on Women’s Health

id 0343
authors Marton, Ch., Kalsbeek, K. and Thulin, K.
year 2003
title User-Centred Design of a Web Interface for a Bibliographic Database on Women’s Health
source ELPUB2003. From information to knowledge: Proceedings of the 7th ICCC/IFIP International Conference on Electronic Publishing held at the Universidade do Minho, Portugal 25-28 June 2003/Edited by: Sely Maria de Souza Costa, João Álovaro Carvalho, Ana Alice Baptista, Ana Cristina Santos Moreira. Universidade do Minho, 2003.
summary Web usability design guidelines derived from a synthesis of the literature were used to evaluate two Web search interfaces for a bibliographic database on women’s health information resources. The current interface is hosted on the Ontario Women’s Health Council Secretariat website (OWHC). The OWHC is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Ontario, Canada). The new interface will be hosted on the Resources section of the Women’s Health Matters (WHM) website, a bilingual Canadian consumer health portal on women’s health issues. Six criteria for effective web interface design were identified: visual design; information architecture; navigation; search; universal usability, and help. Prior to conducting a literature-based evaluation of the two search interfaces, a series of evaluations were conducted with expertreviewers, IT experts and WHM content staff from Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre. Findings from both types of evaluation were compared and deemed to be similar. The current and future web search interfaces are aesthetically pleasing and offer standard search fields for conducting basic searches on the consumer health database. TheOWHC search interface possesses one advantage over the prototype WHM interface; an alphabetically arranged list of health topics. However, the prototype WHM search interface offers more search options in both the basic and advanced search interfaces. Both the current OWHC search interface and prototype WHM interface suffer from inconsistency and/or lack of clarity in terms of labelling search fields and their options. Furthermore, the complexity of the WHM advanced searchinterface, in terms of number of search categories, impairs usability. Modifications to the prototype WHM search interface have been subsequently implemented by Women’s Health Matters before the official launch of this consumer health database and its web interface on the WHM site in late 2003. Thus, two divergent methodological approaches can provide similar insights into effective web design and lead to improvements in the usability of web search interfaces.
keywords Web search interface; Web usability design; information architecture; expert reviews; consumer health information; women’s health; Women’s Health Matters
series ELPUB:2003
type full paper
content file.pdf (786,222 bytes)
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ratings Ratings: 4
last changed 2003/06/07 08:13
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