I was recently awarded a LACUNY Professional Development Travel Grant for my travel to LITA Forum this year!
I am thankful for such a great opportunity to help my travel funds to the conference this year. I’ll make a blog post about my writeup about the conference and include slides for my presentation on mobile usability on the City Tech website.
Below is my application essay:
Libraries among CUNY, including John Jay, College of Staten Island, Hunter, and City College, have recently optimized their websites for mobile consumption. This trend in development is not a surprise as more users are accessing the web through mobile devices. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 90% of Americans own a cellphone 63% of which use their device to go online (2014). As such, libraries are testing how well their sites are useful for mobile device users. I am applying for the LACUNY Professional Development Committee (PDC) Travel Grant for funding travel to the Library Information Technology Association (LITA) National Forum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from November 5-8.
My research project, entitled “Testing on the Tablet: Usability of an Academic Library’s Mobile Site,” has been accepted for a 60-minute presentation at the LITA National Forum. Over the course of the fall 2013 semester, I conducted a formal usability test on the City Tech library’s mobile website (http://m.library.citytech.cuny.edu). The objective of this usability test was to evaluate the City Tech library’s effectiveness among student tablet users. A usability test directly observes users interacting with a system or website. This is done through task-scenario testing, where a participant is asked to complete a series of hypothetical, yet realistic, interactions to test the effectiveness of the website. One example task is finding a book in the catalog for an english class. Metrics such as timing, success rates, and navigation paths are recorded for evaluation, as well as users’ opinions and reactions. This input identifies problems with the website and improve its overall function.
It is not only necessary to create library mobile websites for the CUNY community to keep current with technological advances, but to measure their effectiveness in their use. Online library services are not always intuitive and can challenge users, from first-year students to seasoned faculty. Hardware characteristics common among mobile devices, including smaller screens, inconsistent cellular/WiFi network connections, and touch-enabled interfaces, adds another barrier for website visitors. I am excited to present my findings related to these challenges and to contribute to the on-going discussion of mobile library web development. Additionally, I look forward to feedback and questions from other librarians which can only enhance my presentation skills and research efforts.
…I believe that professional development such as this conference is an investment. The return is information which will be shared with other CUNY librarians for the improvement of our library websites.
Thank you for considering my candidacy for the PDC Travel Grant
“Mobile Technology Fact Sheet.” Pew Research Centers Internet American Life Project RSS. Web. 02 Oct. 2014.