Pull quote: “30.6% of searches used at least one facet to refine the results.”

Pull quote: “Clarity is the first and most important job of any interface. To be effective using an interface you’ve designed, people must be able to recognize what it is, care about why they would use it, understand what the interface is helping them interact with, predict what will happen when they use it, and then successfully interact with it. While there is room for mystery and delayed gratification in interfaces, there is no room for confusion. Clarity inspires confidence and leads to further use. One hundred clear screens is preferable to a single cluttered one.”

Pull quote: “One of the fundamental concepts in UX is notion of affordance: the idea that objects should behave in the manner that their appearance suggests. A push plate on a door affords pushing; a handle afford pulling. How many times have you walked up to a door and found it behaved contrary to your expectations? Invariably this is caused by a mismatch between form and function. Likewise, the design of the search box should follow its function. Its purpose is to allow the user to enter queries in the form of keywords, so it should look like it will accept textual input, and have an associated button that clearly indicates its function.”

Pull quote: “If you went car shopping, you would cross off your list the one with completely different controls positioned in unexpected places. That’s because your perception of what that experience should be determines your expectations. Convenience is determined by perceptions, and when the actual experience is more difficult than what it was expected to be the result is inconvenience. That’s a perfect way to explain the challenges presented by most library search systems. If you were expecting a Google experience, and then you are presented with the Ebscohost interface it’s going to effect your perception of convenience. That’s why more Google-like discovery search systems will ultimately deliver that perception of convenience – at least until the user gets to the results screen or tries to get to some full-text articles.”

Pull quote: “The librarians quoted here understand most of the key problems, and are especially sharp about “the myth of the digital native” — about which see also this deeply sobering Metafilter thread — but there’s one vital issue they’re neglecting: research databases have the worst user interfaces in the whole world.”