Help-Seeking Situation: Difficulty understanding browsing structure
Definition: This is a cognitive situation where a user is confused about how to browse a DL or the best approach for browsing digital collections.
- System Knowledge
- Unclear labeling
- Complex information presentation
- Lack of contextual information
- Unclear instruction
- Lack of explanation about the structure and the page
- Repeated Results or Categories
- [Factor not listed but potential for IMLS: Federated libraries causing confusion]
Guideline or Design Recommendation
- Provide a simple flat consistent browsing structure.
- Provide an instruction explaining the browsing structure and how to navigate on it.
- Provide an option for facet-based browsing.
Rationale and Objective: Browsing can be the start of searching for information. For BVI users, a complicated browsing structure might be a challenge to understand how to navigate the DL. A simple predictive structure is easily understood. It is important to provide several browsing categories because sometimes users have their preference in deciding the layout. The consistency of the browsing structure is needed in each DL web page for different types of items. The categories for browsing should be defined as mutually exclusive categories. Sometimes, there is no description about the page, as well as the structure, which makes users find it difficult to browse the page.
Techniques, Methods, and Features
Techniques and Methods
- Support an option for a categorical browsing layout. Categories should be mutually exclusive.
- Provide minimal categories and reduce complicated hierarchy by eliminating unnecessary levels.
- Provide easy to access instruction for DL browsing structure.
- Browsing layouts should have a similar structure even though web pages have different types of items.
- Textual description is recommended as an alternative to video or audio description.
- Explain the purpose and structure of the DL page upon entry.
- European Commission guideline
– Linear structure preference (rather than complicated one – e.g. hierarchical/link-based structures, which help show a story in a straightforward linear way – from top to bottom)
– One Third column layout: homepage, landing pages, main navigation
– One Fourth / Tree Fourth column layout: filters page, detail page with in page navigation
- Consistent layout/structure
- Facet-based layout (not overlapping, with minimal facets)
- Linear structure
- A linear structure in the page layout (European Commission).
- Instruction added to explain the browse structure.
European Commission. Grid and page layout.
Lynch, P. & Horton, S. Site Structure. http://webstyleguide.com/wsg3/3-information-architecture/3-site-structure.html
Whitenton, K. (2013). Flat vs. Deep Website Hierarchies. https://www.nngroup.com/articles/flat-vs-deep-hierarchy/
WCAG 2.0 Guideline 2.4 Navigable https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#navigation-mechanisms
WCAG 2.0 Guideline 3.2 Readable https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#meaning
WCAG 2.0 Guideline 3.2 Predictable https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#consistent-behavior
Xie, I., Babu, R., Joo, S., & Fuller, P. (2015). Using digital libraries non-visually: understanding the help-seeking situations of blind users. Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, 20(2), n2.
Help-seeking Situations > Confusion about multiple programs and structures > Factors > User factors > System knowledge
Help-seeking Situations > Confusion about multiple programs and structures > Factors > System design > Unclear labeling
Help-seeking Situations > Confusion about multiple programs and structures > Factors > System design > Complex information presentation
Help-seeking Situations > Confusion about multiple programs and structures > Factors > System design > Lack of contextual information
Help-seeking Situations > Confusion about multiple programs and structures > Factors > System design > Unclear instruction
Help-seeking Situations > Confusion about multiple programs and structures > Factors > System design > Repeated results or categories