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Usability is the extent to which a product can be used by specific users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use. The Nielsen’s usability model has been popularly used for system usability evaluation. This thesis introduces a modification to Nielsen’s usability evaluation model which was used to evaluate the usability status of digital libraries in tertiary institutions in Lagos State. The digital libraries used were that of University of Lagos, Lagos State Polytechnic and Federal College of Education, Akoka. This modified model incorporates four traditional attributes (Efficiency, Effectiveness, Satisfaction, Learnability) and two additional attributes (Discoverability and Cognitive Load) introduced by the researcher; these two attributes were introduced because they have been proven to be user centered attributes which will help in getting the users’ personal experience while using the software (digital library) unlike the existing usability evaluation models which were majorly system centered.
The digital libraries will be assessed using modified heuristic think aloud method. The study employed purposive sampling technique to select the three tertiary institutions that was used for the evaluation while Yaro Yamani formula was used to calculate the users’ population sample size of (40) for each of the institution. Six task based questionnaires were used to carry out test in collecting data for the study; they include: (i) Discoverability test, (ii) Cognitive Load test (iii) Learnability test (iv) Effectiveness test (v) Efficiency test and (vi) Satisfaction test. The mean of each of the usability attributes were used to evaluate the usability status of the digital libraries of the selected institutions. IBM SPSS statistics version 21 was used to calculate the mean.
The result of the usability test carried out established that the digital libraries of the tertiary institutions in Lagos state were usable. It also indicated that the users of the digital libraries were satisfied with the use of the digital libraries in the investigated institutions. For the three institutions, discoverability has a mean of 14.65, cognitive load has a mean of 14.81, learnability has a mean of 16.21, effectiveness has a mean of 16.89, efficiency has a mean of 16.56 and satisfaction has a mean of 16.27. Usability results of the evaluated libraries showed that the digital libraries are: Effective, Efficient, Satisfactory, helps users to learn and the discoverability and cognitive load of the students are fast.
In conclusion, this study has successfully modified the Nielsen’s usability evaluation model by adding Discoverability and Cognitive Load to its constructs and this study has also contributed to literature. The modified Nielsen usability evaluation model is recommended for use to evaluate usability of other digital libraries in other tertiary institutions in Nigeria and Abroad.
Keywords: Usability, Digital Library, Usability Construct, Nielsen’s Model, Purposive
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