Infomaki – NYPL market research tool

I discovered Infomaki when I visited the NYPL website one day.  At the top of the page, there was a section signaling for some quick user feedback.

Once I agreed to participate, I got a question like this one.  Once done with this one, I could answer as many as I wanted.  It was pretty fun actually.

NYPL Infomaki sample question about navigation

NYPL Infomaki sample question about navigation

I then discovered NYPL Labs, a section of the NYPL website dedicated to the NYPL digital experience.  There I was able to read more about this innovative user research tool.

As an important note, the group does involved research which requires more thought and setup.   But when they just need a sanity check (for example, if they just want to know where a button on the site should be placed), Infomaki does the trick.

Plus,

  • they can’t physically test users every day
  • they get a large amount of traffic on their web sites so they get reasonable sample sizes
  • they have an audience willing to help and give feedback

Michael Lascarides from the NYPL Digital Experience Group set up their our own rapid-testing usability laboratory from scratch, which is a difficult thing to do if you don’t have the technical resources, but the idea is simple to understand and possible to create in partnership with a technology provider or a really smart intern.

I wondered if they could anlayze how long it took for a user to decide where to click as a measure of how long it took for people to find what they were looking for on the site.  Sure enough, the tool creator responded to a comment on the blog that the info was captured and could be analyzed similarly to the click location data.

If you want to read more, go to the NYPL Labs blog entry introducing the tool, some usage stats, and an announcement of it going open source.

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