Usability of Makula among Makerere University Library users: a case study
Kiwuwa, Mbawaki, Irene
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This study explored the extent to which Makerere University Library Access (Makula) can be used by Makerere University Library (Mulib) users to achieve their teaching, research and information needs with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. The research considered the impact of five usability factors as outlined by usability consultant Jakob Nielsen and computer science professor Ben Shneiderman. The factors included: 1) how easy is it for Makula users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter Makula (Learnability); 2) how quickly they use and continue to use Makula following the first information literacy instruction class (Efficiency); 3) how easily users re-establish proficiency of Makula after a period of not using it (Memorability); 4) how many errors Makula users make, how severe are the errors, and how easily they recover from these errors (Errors); 5) how pleasant and satisfactory it is to use Makula (Satisfaction). A qualitative and quantitative study was conducted involving Makula users with good and poor internet skills. The participants included first-time and experienced undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, and academic staff. The participants responded to a questionnaire, a think-after interview, and exploratory observation of Makula. The results revealed that all participants agreed that Makula strongly meets the purpose it serves (effectiveness). It further showed that Makula is accessible all the time (efficient) and satisfied the users needs (satisfaction). Librarians from other university libraries and library science graduate students who had never used Makula were used as a control measure and confirmed Jef Raskin’s conclusion: “easy to use interfaces are often easy because of the user's exposure to previous similar systems”.