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User information seeking behaviour: Perceptions and reality. An evaluation of the WHO Labresources Internet portal

Madle, G; Berger, A; Cognat, S; Menna, S; Kostkova, P; (2009) User information seeking behaviour: Perceptions and reality. An evaluation of the WHO Labresources Internet portal. Informatics for Health and Social Care , 34 (1) pp. 30-38. 10.1080/17538150902779204. Green open access

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Abstract

Evaluation on Internet portals is a key component of any online resource development. Understanding user information seeking behaviour and user perceived behaviour is essential to obtain the full picture of user needs, online activities and draw lessons to improve the design of Internet portals to better meet user expectations. This article discusses the evaluation of a WHO Internet portal: the Labresources website. The evaluation investigates user satisfaction with the resource, usability, demographic information about users and how well they could complete specific tasks using the website and compared this with the actual online behaviour revealing a number of discrepancies. An online questionnaire was advertised on the Labresources website during the period 25 November 2005 to 20 February 2006. As the site caters to English and French speakers, the questionnaire was made available in both languages. It consisted of two sections – the first section required the participant to complete three tasks using the website whereas the second section tested user satisfaction, information needs and appropriateness of the content. Weblogs data were compared with the questionnaire results to compare user perceived and actual online behaviour. Twenty one respondents completed the online questionnaire from a total of 18 countries. This was out of a potential 60 website users among whom the questionnaire was promoted. In general, respondents were satisfied with the website layout and navigation. 61.9% of respondents listed WHO among their top 5 and a third listed the Labresources website. The number of sessions where users browse (146) the information resources is almost three times more than the number of users who search (52) the resources. Weblogs revealed most interesting results with differences between what users reported doing when completing tasks and how easy they perceived the tasks and what they actually did. Twelve respondents completed at least one task. Of the remaining nine respondents, three did visit the Labresources website from the link in the questionnaire but did not go on to complete the tasks. Only one of the twelve who completed a task reported it being difficult. Three of the respondents who didn't complete a task reported the tasks to be difficult but only one of these actually followed the link to begin the tasks in the questionnaire. This article described an evaluation study investigating user perceived and actual behaviour at the WHO Labresources Internet portal. Although the questionnaire results demonstrated general satisfaction with the resource, a combination of a weblog evaluation with the questionnaire revealed a clearer picture of the user perception of and satisfaction with the website compared to their actual activity when completing the set tasks.

Type: Article
Title: User information seeking behaviour: Perceptions and reality. An evaluation of the WHO Labresources Internet portal
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/17538150902779204
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/17538150902779204
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Internet portal, Weblog analysis, qualitative study, quantitative study, user information seeking behaviour
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10088765
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