Daily Archives: April 12, 2015

WIMT Update: A/B testing on the homepage

by Alex Brown, graduate assistant, Department for Information Technologies

(Brown is a graduate student in the College of Information Sciences and Technology and is a member of the Web Implementation and Management Team, WIMT.)

Over the past couple of weeks, small changes have been made to the interface of the library’s homepage in order to test usability. These small changes are employed through a tool called Optimizely, which tests the changes real-time against an original variation. Results are then analyzed, combined with data from other web analytic technologies, and recommendations are formed.

screenshot of homepage

screenshot of search

The images above show an example of a test that was run. This test removed the border placed around the search box, consequently reducing the size of the search area by about 15,000 square pixels. The findings of this test revealed that user behavior remained stagnant, indicating that a streamlined search area will still attract heavy usage, while freeing up pixel space for other resources.

Experiments in the future will look to further understand user preference for textual display, terminology, and button placement. We are excited to continue to learn more about user behavior so that we can meet the needs of our users, while exceeding expectations.

If you have questions about the website migration project, please email UL-wimt@lists.psu.edu.
To read past articles related to the website migration, go to https://sites.psu.edu/librarynews/category/website-migration-updates/