At Softlink, we take a user-centred approach to product development. This means we start by understanding what users need and want from a library software system, then we work to develop innovative, targeted solutions with features that are helpful, intuitive, and easy to use.
Usability testing, which focuses on the user experience, is crucial to ensuring our software meets these criteria, and is integral to Softlink’s development method.
Our developers spend time with students of different ages gathering their feedback and observing how they use the product.
During this testing, our team uses the ‘think aloud’ method to understand how students actually use Oliver v5. This involves observing their interactions with the system and prompting them to talk through their actions while they perform tasks.
This valuable, real-time method allows us to discover how the system performs in the hands of users. It helps us to identify where users may encounter problems or experience confusion so we can highlight and fix any potential issues before the product launch.
We also use these insights to come up with new features to add to our development road map that will further enhance user experience and student engagement with the system.
As part of the Oliver v5 search interface development process, Softlink worked with staff and students in several test schools to carry out usability testing with this method.
While we can’t share footage from those sessions, we thought our blog readers might like to get a glimpse of what the testing process involves. To this end, we invited the children of Softlink staff to join us in the office for a usability testing day.
If you would like to see highlights from these session, watch our video Oliver v5 - Designed with students, for students.
Softink’s development team are continually working to implement user feedback and release updates throughout the school year. Our Quality Assurance team conducts traditional testing on its software prior to every release.
To find out more about how Oliver v5 can meet the needs of your school library, read Softlink Solutions to support online learning or email email@example.com and one of our consultants will be in touch.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published July 2017 and has been updated for freshness, relevance, and accuracy in August 2020.