Search engine or maze? User evaluations of the information resources portal at the Bibliothèque publique d’information (BPI)

The BPI has elected to carry out user tests to evaluate the ergonomics of its information resource portal and measure its user-friendliness. Three core groups – new, regular, and professional users – were invited to test-run pre-established web search scenarios while an ergonomist measured the outcome. This led to improvements in terms of both practicality (on-screen legibility) and methodology (developing search interfaces). The experience also enabled the BPI to extend its programme observing the use of computerised catalogues, launched when such catalogues were first introduced to the library. This has revealed similar problems in navigating between screens; however, some problems no longer arise, since most users are now thoroughly familiar with the Internet.