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Earning the Stamp of Approval: How to Achieve Optimal Usability



Susan L. Makar


Since the NIST Virtual Library (NVL) was first launched in 1994, scientists and engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have relied on it for their research needs. The NVL offers access to valuable scientific databases and electronic journals, and the Web site always received positive feedback from the scientific researchers who used it. But by the new millennium, the NIST Information Services Division (ISD) realized it was time to set a new standard for the NVL. Our customers wanted the same great resources, but a better navigation system for finding information.NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Its mission is to develop and promote measurements, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life.The Research Library supports the research activities of the NIST scientific and technological community. The library, which resides on the main NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Md., serves a population of 2,700 and has a collection of more than 200,000 items.Although there are many elements and phases to redesigning a large-scale Web site such as the NVL, this article focuses on Web site usability and the testing done to make sure our Web pages allow customers to navigate the site easily and find the information they want.
Computers in Libraries (CIL)
No. 1


libraries, NIST, NIST Research Library, Web design, Web site, Web site usability


Makar, S. (2003), Earning the Stamp of Approval: How to Achieve Optimal Usability, Computers in Libraries (CIL) (Accessed May 19, 2024)


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Created January 1, 2003, Updated February 17, 2017