People are accustomed to working on the Web, and they have come to expect that all sites operate in similar sophisticated yet intuitive ways. We felt it was important that our redesign allowed research databases to seem natural and familiar to all users.
Ipswich, MA (PRWEB) June 28, 2008
EBSCO Publishing, one of the leading providers of online research databases, is introducing the next generation of its popular EBSCOhost® user interface, EBSCOhost 2.0 -- offering a clean new look and feel.
Users will notice a technologically sophisticated, yet familiar search experience. The new interface offers an intuitive approach to searching online databases. EBSCO Publishing's Chief Information Officer, Michael Gorrell, says the essential element of the redesign was recognizing the expectations of millions of Internet users who also rely on EBSCOhost. "People are accustomed to working on the Web, and they have come to expect that all sites operate in similar sophisticated yet intuitive ways. We felt it was important that our redesign allowed research databases to seem natural and familiar to all users."
Gorrell says the design team worked with a range of users and test groups to refine their ideas. "From 'guerilla usability tests,' where we pulled college students aside in Campus Centers to formal observations like the ones done at Kent State University's School of Library and Information Science's (SLIS) ScanPath Usability Lab. At Kent State, we were able to test and collect data on user expectations and preferences for search, as well as how users digest the wide array of information that EBSCOhost has to offer."
Ron Burns, director of software product management at EBSCO Publishing, says there is no better way to validate design ideas for user experiences than to see users work with an interface. "The information you are able to obtain through observation is priceless. We were able to incorporate new and powerful Web 2.0 user controls such as a date slider, mouse-over previews, and modals making the interface more dynamic. The new EBSCOhost 2.0 user experience has been very well-received."
Designers approached the changes as a complete redesign and created the new interface which starts with a new Basic Search screen. The Basic Search screen simplifies the initial search experience while providing the functionality that users associate with the EBSCOhost platform. The new EBSCOhost 2.0 Result List becomes the launching pad -- the mechanism through which results are tailored and refined -- delivering a wide variety of brand new tools designed to organize, refine and expand search results.
What Users Will Notice
A magnifying glass icon beside a title provides an instant preview of the article's citation, directly from the Result List. Users are able to hover over a result and expand it without ever leaving the Result List. Thumbnail images in the Result List contain the graphical content of an article, and clinking on the thumbnail brings up an instant view of the full-sized image content.
Panels on either side of the Result List allow the user to refine searches. In the left-hand column, users may select Source Type, Subject, Author or Journal as ways to pare down results. In the right-hand column, users have access to a date-range slide bar, full text, scholarly (peer-reviewed) and other database limiters.
EBSCOhost 2.0 offers a Search Options link so users are able to choose among several search modes and available limiters for refining search results. A new search option called SmartText Searching™ allows users to move beyond keyword searching and paste large amounts of text into a search box. With this additional type of search, the system analyzes each word in the query for how unique it is; a weight is applied to each word and a search is initiated using those weights as relevancy controls.
A Cite button displays all the possible citation formats for a given article. The How to Cite feature was a direct result of on-campus testing. In addition, a Find More Like This link was replaced with links to actual Related Articles after testing indicated that the articles themselves would be more effective than a link.
The new design also incorporates functions that users are accustomed to using on the Web. EBSCOhost 2.0 includes a Preferences link, allowing the user control over the look and feel of the Result List, and lets users save those preferences in a My EBSCOhost folder for use in future sessions. In addition, the contents of a My EBSCOhost folder may be sorted among multiple folders. A future enhancement will make it possible for EBSCOhost users to share folders.
Subscribing institutions will maintain control of the interface via the administrative module EBSCOadmin®. In EBSCOadmin, defaults may be set to control a variety of features including default screens, branding, local holding information and linking capabilities.
While the functionality is available from the Basic Search screen, the Advanced Search option opens all of the advanced research tools to which users have become accustomed while making limiters and expanders easier to add, and also includes the improved functionality at the Result List level.
For more information go to http://www.ebscohost.com/2.0.
About EBSCO Publishing:
EBSCO Publishing is the world's premier database aggregator, offering a suite of more than 200 full-text and secondary research databases. Through a library of tens of thousands of full-text journals, magazines, books, monographs, reports and various other publication types from renowned publishers, EBSCO serves the content needs of all researchers (Academic, Medical, K-12, Public Library, Corporate, Government, etc.). The company's product lines include proprietary databases such as Academic Search™, Business Source®, CINAHL®, DynaMed™, Historical Abstracts™, Literary Reference Center™, MasterFILE™, NoveList®, SocINDEX™ and SPORTDiscus™ as well as dozens of leading licensed databases such as ATLA Religion Database™, EconLit, INSPEC®, MEDLINE®, MLA International Bibliography, The Philosopher's Index™, PsycARTICLES® and PsycINFO®. Databases are powered by EBSCOhost®, the most-used for-fee electronic resource in libraries around the world. For more information, visit the EBSCO Publishing Web site at: http://www.ebscohost.com, or contact: information @ ebscohost.com.
EBSCO Publishing is a division of EBSCO Industries Inc., one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.